Owners usually want to accelerate every segment of their business trying to do everything faster. Go to market faster, develop a product faster, test it with the audience faster, make money faster. But, often, faster means the lowest quality possible. So, how can you make it work the right way? Discovery phase is your best friend, to be exact.
Discovery phase helps to reduce the risk and cost utilizing advanced planning. With different stages, it is focused on defining business objectives, commercial viability, technological complexity and scope of works for the software product. It may last from a couple of days for small applications to several weeks for large projects.
Not all startups have same ideas. Their business goals are diverse, and technology stack usually different in each and every case. But even with such diversity, something should remain unchanged, and it is a discovery process aimed at very specific business value.
Let’s assume you address a professional software development partner to conduct a discovery phase for your product. From our experience in working with different businesses, discovery phase conducted by the trusted technology partner in 99% works better if compared to a self-conducted discovery phase.
Throughout the discovery, your ideas evolve with the help of a business analyst, UI/UX expert, project manager, and software architect with vast experience in launching software products. Irrespective of the scope and requirements, product discovery always results in a shaped valuable data.
With numerous ‘pros’, the main benefits always come down to time and money. It is the fastest and the most cost-effective way to initiate the development of a product, securing that all your efforts will head in the right direction. The well-staged perspectives with identified right objectives clearly communicated to all the parties, ensure fewer steps towards the project completion and keep a budget on track.
On top of that, the whole point of discovery is in the least minimum effort. This stage will teach you more about the business niche you are going into, about the product you will be happily selling and about customers that will bring you prosperity. The Discovery phase concept is not exclusively about the product. It is also about finding your market niche with this product. So the ultimate goal of a startup’s software development partner is to make this product technologically perfect to fit the market as soon as possible and with minimal enhancements.
Too often, companies don’t see value in investing in design and development of a product at an early stage of their growth, considering it as excessive. Mistakenly, they might think that the brilliant idea is just enough. In fact, it’s nothing but a missed opportunity: false start in chase of building something new without proper validation of your idea. Only with the real product, you can test an actual value it will or will not bring for your users.
From the business idea point of view, in the course of a discovery process, you will uncover new business opportunities or verify your supposed business opportunities. Results of such verification and uncovering might influence and shift the direction of the further product development. Moreover, it allows to uncover hidden risks and address them head on before almost any investments are made into a product design or development.
From the point of view of your product idea, the logical outcome of a successful discovery phase is a set of documents (SRS, UseCases, SDS, estimates, PoC, etc.), a well-documented evidence that a potential product or service can be successful.
The next step would be getting your MVP done. The minimum viable product you get will have smallest feature set but just enough to address the user needs and create the right user experience. The PoC helps you acquire the relevant knowledge and address key risks, primarily helping you avoid building the product no one needs.
A startup needs the MVP to reduce time-to-market not only helping you launch a product faster but launch it to the appropriate audience with relevant features.
Being a minimum, as to the time and resources you spend, it’s essential regarding of your market and audience.
As well as with the discovery phase, how long it takes to create an MVP and how feature-rich it should be, depends on a target product and market. Keep the features as small as possible but thoroughly developed will help you avoid wasting time and money. It is always important to remember that your idea may turn out to be not as bright as you expect it.
However for a startup, not only a market response is critical since nothing speaks better than a sale. Remember of potential investors. Bear in mind that you need to sell your idea to an investor. With MVP you will have more chances to attract investments persuading the investors in what way your idea will work.
From our experience in working with startups, here at Perfectial, we are sure that it’s comparatively easy to build a product prototype that is minimal, but it is more important and a much more challenging to make a product valuable. Perfectial has established its very distinctive approach to the discovery phase in software development, dividing it into Business Discovery, UX Research, MVP/PoC Development, and Requirements Engineering. Check it out below: