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What are the discovery phase steps in software development?

product development

It often happens that some new idea completely captures the mind of the founder of the company that he cannot adequately evaluate, and all his friends or colleagues will support him in this endeavor without thinking about the potential clients’ needs. Besides, sometimes one simply decides to copy an IT solution already existing on the market without analyzing and testing it on real people. As a result, money and time are wasted, disappointment in oneself or the idea itself may come, which may simply be incorrectly implemented from the beginning.

A project or product discovery phase, or as we call this stage ART of stARTing, can be a solution. Learn more about what a discovery phase is.

As a rule clients get the following deliverables after the discovery phase :

  • Vision and scope;
  • Estimation duration;
  • Technical architecture;
  • Clickable Prototype.

However, this is often not enough, and we recommend adding Discovery Sprint (DS), testing the main idea on real users. It usually lasts 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the wishes of the client. Let’s take a look at the classic sprint week.

Based on our experience, the minimum team should be 4 people. 3 professionals from our side (Business Analyst + Senior Developer + UX/UI Designer) and one person from client’s side (Product Owner, CEO or someone who has the right to vote and decide). In each case, the team may be different, depending on the tasks set and the desire of different specialists to take part in the DS.

We prepare for the first week in advance: writing a schedule, sending out invitations,
discussing organizational details (venue, required stationery), defining discovery phase activities, sending out examples of other sprints etc. So let the sprint week begin!

Week 1

Day 1

Our team determines the list of long-term and short-term goals of the product or solution. In the course of teamwork, we highlight main points of where to start product development.
Deliverables may be: process flow map.

Day 2

Each team member himself chooses a short-term goal of the product, argues and brings conclusions to the team, finds examples on the Internet. We vote for the best point, the voice of the person on the client’s side has more weight.
Deliverables may be: sketchings, simple demos, customer journey discovery phase.

discovery phase

Day 3

Each team member offers his own solution to the main issue of the DS (short-term goal with more votes from the previous day). We vote for the best solution, the voice of the person on the client’s side has more weight.

Deliverables may be: solution presentations, straw poll, user test flow, storyboard, discovery phase template.

Day 4

Making a simple prototype. Finding interviewers (5+) for the final day, scheduling interviews with them for Friday, preparing control questions.
Deliverables may be: prototype/prototypes, contact list of interviewers.

Day 5

We conduct interviews on our prototype and collect feedback. Our team analyzes interviews, prepares documents and reports for the client.
Deliverables may be: user feedback, documented discovery analysis.

Week 2

At the request of the client, you can deliver the second week of the DS, considering the results of the previous sprint. After analyzing interviews with real people about our prototype, we draw conclusions, make corrections and launch a new cycle (day 1 – day 5) of the Discovery Sprint.

From our experience, if you want to get the best discovery phase benefits and find solutions for a totally new product or idea, then a two-week sprint will be the best option for you. For testing some idea of an existing product or solution, one week is often enough.



August 23, 2021


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