The discovery phase is a process of collecting and analysing information about the project. It precedes the development process and allows getting a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of goals, scope, and possible limitations.
The discovery phase (or stage), is where you study the target market, determine your product-market fit, and gather all project requirements.
People skip the discovery stage because they mistakenly consider it a waste of money and time. But this stage is usper important because it allows companies to better understand their customers and create products that solve their customers’ problems. The discovery phase is a crucial step in the development process and helps clients align their business goals with users’ needs.
The Purpose of the Discovery Phase
The discovery phase of software development is first and foremost meant to eliminate and foresee risks like a lack in market demand, unexpected costs, and the possibility that you might not be able to pay them.
The most costly mistakes made in the planning stage will be the ones that are corrected later. The discovery stage is designed to help you test your ideas and implement strategies. It also optimizes development costs and speed for product launches.
Establish product and business goals
The discovery phase includes the creation of a product scope and requirements as well as setting business goals. These goals should be adhered to throughout the product development process.
It is important to not only outline the product’s goals but also to determine how many are necessary to reach them. You, as a business owner must know what you want from your product. You can aim to achieve 100% of your goals but only 70% might be sufficient to meet your initial needs.
Conduct user research
Without knowing the needs and wants of your users, you can’t create a product that is successful. Here, the quality and reliability of the software product is very important to the user. It is the link between the customer’s needs and the service provider. The customer won’t trust a product if it doesn’t perform as expected, i.e., doesn’t fit the requirements. This is why modern applications must be tailored to the specific needs of the target area.
Define a customer journey
The customer journey map is a tool that helps you design a product that users will love. It also allows you to identify the key touchpoints users use and help you think through what problems users might face and how to avoid them.
Even MVPs need to be detailed mapped out in order to be successful in today’s digital market. Customers will not return if they aren’t satisfied with their first experience with an application. In this context, the customer journey is key to product success and conversion levels. It is important to understand why your users aren’t completing the product’s journey and what’s stopping them. This could be due to poor UX/UI, or a reluctance to buy.
This is why the journey should be designed and tested in the discovery phase.
Analyze the competition
It is important to do a thorough analysis of your competition’s strengths and weaknesses as part of the discovery phase. This helps you to identify the gaps in your industry and how your product can fill them. You will also be able to create your Unique Value Proposition, which will make your product stand apart.
Here is a summary of what you get after the discovery phase if you are still skeptical about its importance:
- A well-planned budget
- You will have a better understanding of the goals and scope of your product
- Understanding your customers’ pain points and their needs
- Unique Value Proposition and Market Positioning
- You can outperform your competition by learning their weaknesses, improving your product and making them better
You risk creating a product that doesn’t have a market demand if you don’t start with a discovery phase.
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