The Discovery Process. What It Is, And Why It Matters

by James Martin

Whatever venture it’s about, a promising beginning is half of success. Nevertheless, what comes prior to the start of the software development process – especially, when it’s about startups – is essential for business achievements since initially, the majority of projects have only basic ideas.

The discovery stage serves to clearly determine project requirements, transform the original blur idea into a sustainable concept, establish an opening implementation strategy. Here are the aspects you’ll manage to figure out after having carried out the discovery phase steps:

  • the feasibility of the project;
  • the timeframe you’ll need to launch your product on the market;
  • the list of resources you’ll require in order to realize your idea.

This article will describe the discovery stage process itself, and the deliverables you’ll get if everything is conducted properly.

What The Discovery Refers To

Actually, it’s about pre-development activities that serve to define and mitigate financial risks for product owners. Diverse aspects shall be studied and analyzed to ensure the development to be quite seamless, as well as predictable. The discovery phase allows establishing project requirements and goals, as well as analyzing them from various points of view, say, the most appropriate architecture, features, UI, and more. Such research shall help you draw up the best possible implementation plan.

The mistakes made during the planning stage will cost entrepreneurs quite a lot, and some issues (in case they occur in the process of the actual digital product development) could be pretty difficult to get resolved. Consequently, even if you decide to start with the MVP version, its launch will be significantly delayed, and for the majority of startups that will be a true failure since:

  • You won’t figure out what instruments are the most suitable and applicable for your project, thus, the technical solution will be pretty vague;
  • You won’t establish the strategy to scale your solution when the time comes;
  • You won’t understand how good the UI/UX design is, so you won’t know whether you’ll need prototypes;
  • You shall take care of a POC (it stands for a Proof of Concept). It’s a quick way to implement your concept;
  • You won’t elaborate on any use cases, so you won’t realize the approaches your audience will apply for to take advantage of your product;
  • You will not know for sure what infrastructure to choose for your startup to ensure its effectiveness;
  • You won’t understand how to integrate multiple solutions, like, CRM, payment means, and others;
  • You won’t manage to think through all the requirements, and you won’t calculate how much the implementation will cost and how long this process will take.

The Results of the Discovery Stage

After you carry out all the steps of the discovery process, you’ll manage to visualize the idea of your project and determine its scope. You’ll have a complete list of features you’re planning to implement into your solution. You will know who your competitors are and what they offer their clients. Having figured out their advantages and disadvantages shall help you understand how to surpass them and win the audience’s hearts.

The analysis you perform shall allow you to calculate the budget and timeframes to build your MVP. Moreover, you’ll also be able to estimate infrastructure expenditure. Additionally, in case you’ll need any 3rd party integrations, you’ll figure out their prices as well.

Discovery Stage Deliverables

Deliverables refer to what exactly you obtain at the end of the discovery phase. It may range depending on multiple factors, like, startup size, its intricacy, urgency level, etc. The list of deliverables shall be negotiated and approved beforehand. Here are the key options you need to consider.


  • Analysis of competitors;
  • Business model canvas (insights on final users, revenue, product value);
  • Estimated expenditure;
  • Roadmap of the project (possible risks, business goals, time calculation);
  • Composition of the team.


  • Software requirements specification with functionality description, detailed architecture, tech stack;
  • CI/CD pipeline recommendations;
  • Backlog to write down the priorities for the development staff;
  • Technical stack suggestions;
  • Architecture records on the structure, mechanisms, patterns;
  • System thorough testing strategy.


  • Detailed description of final users;
  • User’s flow diagram;
  • Clickable prototype to be sure in users’ flow consistency;
  • Clients’ problems, needs, expectations, pain points;
  • Info architecture, say, screen layout;
  • Low-fidelity wireframes to visualize interface components on key screens;
  • Moodboard to show the overall concept design.

The Discovery Stage and Project Implementation

Discovery activities assist in building the whole documentation required for your startup. This pre-development process saves your time and money, and delivers multiple vital things that you’ll take advantage of during the full development cycle till the actual product launch. The discovery phase shall also guide you on your advertising strategy.

To make it all work out to your best advantage, the discovery process shall meet all standards of the market in question. The activities you carry out in the process are to help the development team to come up with unconventional advanced solutions. The discovery process serves to aggregate multiple relevant aspects and provides all critical details to make intelligent decisions.


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