Discovery Phase of a Software Development Project

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Apiumhub has been in the software development industry for many years and we have tried different ways of launching projects, we have used different sales approaches and have sent different kinds of proposals. And today I would like to discuss what has worked the best – the discovery session – the crucial part in any project planning. 

Whether your project is for a large scale enterprise system or a startup app, it is important that you and your team include a discovery phase in your software development plan because in all software development projects, miscommunication, misunderstandings or lack of critical information can lead to missed deadlines, exceeded budgets, unexpected risks, etc. It is crucial that everyone involved in the project is able to provide their input early and understand both the vision and the technology.

I would say that the main purpose of the Project Discovery Session is to get the idea of the digital product, understand the “pain” and align the priorities on all levels. The goal is to get all stakeholders aligned, point out the main issues and identify what you are going to work on. This session is not about tasks, it is about understanding the final destination, the impact on the business, the “why”. The discovery session allows stakeholders to start talking the same language and set the common goal and vision.

How does a discovery session look like in practice?

The very first thing to do is to get all key stakeholders in the same place and at the same time. Once we have them in the “same room” (or on the same call) we make them explain the situation and what they think should be done. This is the most interesting thing to do as you start seeing that the project goal that seemed clear to everybody starts becoming not so clear anymore as the meeting goes on. Here, we play an important role – moderators! Our mission here is to highlight the issues, see the impact of resolving them and state “what” has to be done. Then, we can jump into some clarification process. We always try to see what has already been implemented, what has been accomplished so far, what actually worked and what didn’t. And then comes the “how” part.

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As a result of the session, at Apiumhub, we prepare an audit report. It is about 2 to 3 pages document that states the issues of the project and some bullet points about what can be done to resolve them. We’ve seen a lot of issues in a lot of different industries and environments, so here is where our value starts to shine. We can easily propose the next steps and we know that this is exactly what the project needs. This is something we can already estimate and give an approximate budget. This is something business people can understand as they can see the impact and the potentially generated value. 

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