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What is the Discovery Phase: Outputs, Benefits and Steps

What is the Discovery Phase: Outputs, Benefits and Steps

May 17, 2022
8 min read

In software development, the discovery or scoping phase is a process of collecting and analyzing information about the project, its goals, scope, and targeted market. This initial phase is crucial as it sets the foundation for the entire development process.

The product discovery stage focuses on gathering information and defining requirements, including the creation of system requirements specification (SRS). This document encompasses essential information required for product development, including primary and additional features, measurable deliverables, and more 📄

Let's find out what is the discovery phase, its key steps, and the impact it has on shaping the success of a software development project.

What are the outputs of the discovery phase?

New startups are launched worldwide almost every day, from sunny Cape Town to Alaska. However, for each successful business idea, there are thousands that fail. Nearly half of the startups (42%) fail because they don't meet a market need.

How can we avoid these pitfalls in IT project delivery? And how do we ensure that product development stays on track? 🚴

Comprehensive analysis is a great navigator for your product development process. It includes the discovery phase, a crucial software development stage to complete projects on time and budget.

<medium>The business analyst<medium> and <medium>account manager<medium> take the lead during the discovery stage, supported by team leads, software developers, and designers. Together, they collaborate on tasks such as defining project scope, creating SRS, and developing prototypes.

The outputs of the discovery phase are crucial for your development project. Once this stage is complete, you will receive:

  • <medium>System requirements specification.<medium> This document describes the project's goals, features, technology stack, and architecture. Study it carefully and suggest any necessary corrections before approving it.
  • <medium>Preliminary design.<medium> Long before developers start working on your project, you will receive showcase of UI, UX wireframes and user flows. Together with an SRS, the preliminary product prototype provides a clear understanding of the further development stages and the final result.
  • <medium>MVP development plan and estimates<medium>. An MVP (Minimum Viable Product) development plan outlines the strategy and steps required to create and launch a basic version of a product with the minimum set of features to satisfy initial users. You will get a suggested team lineup, an accurate development timeline, and a budget estimate

The discovery stage tackles uncertainty at the beginning of any project. <medium>Communication, research, and analysis<medium> form the power of three that help businesses set goals and define the direction of the development process. Moreover, they are essential to <medium>identify and address potential roadblocks and risks<medium>.

What are benefits of the project discovery phase

When everyone is rushing to get the product launched, the project discovery phase may seem like a waste of time. However, this step is pivotal for successful development. It helps:


Benefits of discovery stage

With benefits addressed, <medium>let's consider what happens when you skip the project discovery stage<medium> and start the development process without clearly defined goals and milestones:


How to run a discovery phase?

Time and budget estimations are foundational elements that guide the software development processes. They help <medium>ensure alignment with business goals, manage expectations, and minimize risks associated with project delivery<medium>.

The business development team accurately estimates the time and costs needed to create MVP or a full-scale product. The size of the project can extend the duration of this stage, but the framework of the discovery phase remains the same:


When do you need the discovery phase checklist?

Our business development team has prepared <medium>a self-guided discovery checklist<medium> to save time and money. It's a simple and free roadmap designed to identify the key points on your product development journey.

<medium>Why do you need this checklist?<medium>

  • you can save 10-20 hours of discussion with IT companies (describe once and immediately answer the most important questions)
  • find the most efficient and cost-effective solution for your business needs
  • get a more accurate budget and timelines
  • avoid the mistake of lacking product-market fit

<medium>In this checklist you will come up with the following:<medium>

  • product requirements (business requirements, user requirements, non-functional requirements, etc.)
  • project requirements (deadlines, technology stack, etc.)


How Freshcode conducts the discovery phase

The discovery phase is a <medium>crucial checkpoint on the map of startup development.<medium> IT professionals help businesses avoid failed decisions and save resources.

Therefore, it is a vital tool to present a project to stakeholders with a clear picture of your product development journey.

Are you looking for a real-life example of how to conduct a discovery phase and why it matters? Here it is! We share <medium>our case of a significant discovery phase<medium> that helped us realize successful project development.

Freshcode use case discovery stage

The described project discovery enables us to prevent misunderstandings and establish a development plan with <medium>well-defined requirements and development tasks derived from discovery session findings<medium>.

Final thoughts

Software development companies don't try to increase the price by adding services besides coding. With dozens of projects in their portfolios, they know the value of the discovery stage.

Our clients have firsthand experience with the benefits of the project discovery, ensuring clarity, reducing risks, and aligning stakeholders' expectations.

Contact us for a free consultation if you're looking to start your project, scale existing business, or receive professional advice about software solutions.

Let's discuss your idea and suitable solutions we can approach. Please, fill out the form on our website or contact the Freshcode representative on Linkedin.


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