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Benefits of Discovery Phase in Software Development

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Let’s say you have a concept for a software project that will significantly impact your business. Before leaping into the development and design phase, it’s crucial to precisely comprehend what problems it tackles, who your target audience consists of, and if the solution will add value and other key factors.

This is where the discovery phase in software development plays a vital role in the project lifecycle. It minimizes the gap between an idea and its fulfillment and determines success. Keep reading to learn the benefits of the discovery phase and why it is crucial in protecting your business from failure.

What Is The Discovery Phase And Why Does It Matter?

Roughly 1 in 3 software development projects misses its deadline, considerably surpasses its budget, or fails, with the reasons for failure ranging from poor planning to unrealistic cost estimates and expectations. This can be a crushing blow for many businesses.

Every company wishes to fit into its budget during the development phase of new projects. This ultimately calls for an informed decision.

One industry-standard process can help forecast potential problems, protect businesses from collapsing, prevent failure, alleviate risks, and allow them to create successful products in the future – discovery phase.

In simple words, the discovery phase is any project’s preparatory stage. Here, you need to do all the groundwork, such as:

  • Study your target audience,
  • Analyze the competition and market situation,
  • Collect industry best practices and insights,
  • Explore various business opportunities and technologies that may be relevant to your project.

In the discovery phase, you will gather requirements, allocate priorities, and develop an action plan that defines how the system will grow from a mere concept to the final launch.

As per McKinsey’s research on executing software development projects, 56% of IT projects deliver less value for the final users than initially planned, 42% of startups fail as the market doesn’t need their product, and 45% of software projects exceed their estimated budget.

The discovery phase helps with the following things:

  • Create a user-friendly experience,
  • Identify the objectives and scope of a project more effectively, resulting in a more accurate estimate,
  • Involve in-house specialists at the initial stages to optimize the impact of their understanding of the issue to be solved,
  • Help ensure a more significant return on investment,
  • Make design-related decisions based on valid data but not just assumptions,
  • Prevent the need for making costly alterations during the later stages of the development process,
  • Cost and risk assessment,
  • Find a way out of critical scenarios,
  • Select the best tech stack

Skipping the discovery phase can lead to:

  • Rising costs: unclear requirements and objects develop changes in direction with additional cost increases,
  • The duration creeps: a lack of measurable projected results can lead to never-ending postponements to project duration, delaying the final launch,
  • The project doesn’t meet your expectations: misunderstandings at the introductory stages of cooperation can result in further confusion, which can waste a significant amount of money and time,
  • Missed deadlines: without a definite project limit, the development timeline can extend, thus delaying the final release.

Benefits of Discovery Phase in Software Development

According to experience, it is crucial to roll out the discovery phase and include an entire team of people before starting the development. According to experience, this is the best way to save a considerable sum of money and time, stay within the budget, and prevent costly mistakes.

There are numerous benefits of entering the discovery phase in software development projects, such as:

Getting an all-inclusive view

This discovery phase is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to introduce the cross-industry experience to your software development project. It tells others you’re an expert in your domain and have full knowledge of how everything should work in your respective field.

Upon initiating the discovery phase with an IT service provider, you bring in a ton of expertise and experience from numerous professionals who’ve worked in diverse markets and industries. They can emphasize essential things to look into and are fluent in design best practices.

Optimizing development costs

The discovery phase is a practical step that enables you to work out your concept in the smallest amount of detail, plan the development and design of the project carefully, and ultimately prevent serious strategic bloopers, hitches, or costly extensions.

Bringing tech competence

The discovery phase is an excellent opportunity to incorporate tech expertise within your project. From a software engineering point of view, discovery is the step where you gather data that aids in making crucial technical and architectural decisions.

This particular benefit plays a significant role for startup ventures and companies that don’t have in-house tech teams or any understanding of software development.

Still, even the most tech-savvy clients find it helpful to engage IT suppliers to enrich their vision and minimize the gaps in tech knowledge.

Creating a clear product vision

The primary reason for undergoing a discovery phase is to create a clear vision of a software development product. Usually, a client has a revolutionary idea but a vague understanding of their product and how it can be brought to life.

The discovery phase is a key strategy to gather fundamental data, fill in the gaps, define project objectives, and set up a clear product vision. In addition, the information collected during this phase will help refine your product idea and give you a new standpoint on how to implement it.

Finding your competitive edge

If you’re creating new software in an incredibly competitive niche such as retail, it is vital to discover and formulate your competitive advantage.

This requires studying the competition, market situation, and potential audience and finding a way to offer more significant or enhanced value than similar products in this niche.

The discovery phase requires conducting comprehensive research, determining competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, identifying gaps in their offers, and identifying unaddressed user needs. These valuable insights will help you gain a competitive edge.

Additional Pros of a Discovery Phase in a Software Development Project

Many measurable benefits reflect the significance of the discovery phase in software development. Here are a few valid points that can convince even the most realistic minds that the discovery phase is worth your time and money.

Lesser risks

There are several risks associated with new product development. With the help of comprehensive research conducted during this phase, the following risks can be assessed and mitigated:

  • Poor technology and design choices need amends and modifications in the tech stack that result in the extended launch and additional expenses,
  • Unnecessary investment in functionality and features that have zero demand in the market,
  • Discovering limitations or issues in the middle of project development,
  • Failure to recognize and accurately tackle market and user requirements.

You can estimate resources

The project estimate is one of the most crucial points of the discovery phase. It explains what is required to develop your product and launch it in the market. The estimation includes:

  • The initial cost of development and design,
  • The time it will take to develop, design, and execute the system, along with the milestones and a detailed timeline,
  • The expertise and team of experts needed to implement the software project,
  • Other resources you may need.

We are Owlab, a custom software development firm with expertise in fintech, retail, blockchain, healthcare, etc. Owlab is happy to participate in more upcoming projects and continue offering superior custom software solutions. If you have a project, get in touch with our team, and rest assured you won’t regret it.


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