Are you sure you’re ready for development?
You may have found yourself in a situation where you had a great idea or product that you thought was ready to develop. You did your research and found your development team…only to have them come back to you offering a technical discovery. Cue screeching breaks.
You may find yourself dismissing this phase as a “paid proposal” or an agency trying to manufacture more paid services to take advantage of you. You may find yourself just wanting to skip ahead and get started already. But if you do that, you could end up missing out on valuable, time-and-cost-savings insights later on down the road. A formal technical discovery can unearth answers to questions you may not even be aware you have, including, but not limited to:
- What problems do I experience that can be solved with technology?
- What technologies might work best to help my business or idea?
- How long does custom software development take anyway?
- And how much will it cost?
- What are the risks associated with this undertaking, and how can I avoid them?
- What team members will be involved?
- What deliverables should I expect from this investment?
Sometimes, it may feel like you have more questions than answers, especially at the beginning of a technical discovery phase. But like many large projects, uncertainty is an integral part of how your project team gets to the essence of your needs and finds the best way to build. Here are just a few ways your project will ultimately benefit from a technical discovery phase.
1. Clarify your project’s vision and define its scope
To get a successful product to market, you have to start with a crystal-clear understanding of the vision and scope. A technical discovery phase provides a foundation of understanding that allows invested parties to collaborate and clearly define their goals, expectations, fears, and possible challenges. When you take the time to slow down and discuss the entire project, analyze its feasibility, and talk about what success looks like, you’re much more likely to end up with a finished product that meets or exceeds everyone’s expectations.
At the end of the discovery phase, you should receive a professional and polished plan (proposed roadmap) that outlines your project’s design, architecture, and features, including the rationale behind each of these decisions. The technical discovery phase provides a perfect opportunity to outline all of the rationales behind any decisions you make and may include business needs, cost adjustments, performance improvements, scalability, and more. All of this is part of the project’s overall vision and allows you to narrow or broaden the scope as you gain information. This also provides valuable documentation of why decisions were made that you can revisit once you’re in the thick of development when someone asks, “Well, why didn’t we include X or do it ___ blank way?”
2. Start (and keep) your project on track and in budget
It’s no secret that many great ideas never reach the finish line. Sometimes, projects fail because of things outside of our control, but fairly often, it’s because of poor planning. You wouldn’t just take a hammer and start trying to frame a house without a blueprint and plan in place, so why should a technical project be treated any differently?
When done the right way, technical discovery provides you with the information you need to make the best technology choices for your project. It minimizes communication mismatches or coordination problems and helps manage time and resources to reduce the risk of failure. Because a technical discovery usually delivers a proposed roadmap for your project, you can use this plan to keep your project on a reasonable timeline. And last but not least, it minimizes costs by establishing a clear development roadmap from the very beginning.
3. Choose the right technology from the beginning
The backbone of any development project, from the simplest brochure website to the most complex application, lies in the choice of technology. A technical discovery phase provides a structured environment to evaluate various technologies, frameworks, and architectures against the goals of your project.
Using proof-of-concept development and prototype testing, your development team can assess the feasibility of several different technical approaches. Doing so also allows them to delve into scalability considerations, predicting whether the chosen technology will allow you to reach your growth goals further down the line. By addressing potential technical roadblocks early on, your development team can make informed decisions to choose a different technology, make adjustments, or otherwise mitigate associated risks.
Got a project that needs a technical discovery?
We’d love to help! With over a decade of experience in a variety of industries, we’ve used our technical discovery process to help businesses identify ways to improve workflows using software, and we’ve helped plan, develop, and launch full product suites from the beginning. Check out our work and contact us today to see how a technical discovery can help bring your vision to life.