Discovery phase: a game-changer for your software project

Discovery phase: a game-changer for your software project

Committing investment into a business idea during these uncertain times can be daunting. Which is why Magora, a London-based software development company, has introduced its own discovery phase for a software product or application. Magora’s CEO, Alex Galaktionov, offers some of his technical and commercial insights to add some value to readers considering starting a new tech business or innovating in their space.

Business owners face lots of challenges when starting a project and always look for a good way to test the strength of fresh ideas. Fundamental research at the initial point of the development process is crucial. The discovery phase helps to gain an in-depth understanding of all processes related to a software product or application.

At Magora, the team use efficient strategies to create a complete roadmap with mandatory reference points. They may concern such aspects as monetisation models or business optimisation solutions. During the discovery phase, it becomes clear whether an idea embodied in a software product will solve assigned tasks and meet the consumer demand.

The main areas that the discovery phase typically covers are the following: a project scope, software features, market research and competitor analysis, product monetisation strategy, business expansion strategies, risk management and the design concept of the future product.

Following this stage, a full set of documentation is produced. From the functional side, these documents include SRS (Software Requirements Specification), a feature map, a product concept and use cases. SRS describes the nature of the software and how it will perform. It is always good to have complete documentation to make informed decisions. The technical side of the provided information relates to the technological stack, platform requirements and restrictions and infrastructure architecture. In addition, the expected load will be calculated, as it will be necessary to test how the system copes with the peak load. Moreover, there will be 10–14 screens of the main workflow and a visualisation map that includes all screen interconnections.

Software development should be started with careful analysis to mitigate the risk of spending money on useless functionality. An alternative strategy doesn’t guarantee a fixed estimation of timeframe and cost, and finally, it is most likely that both measures will increase.

In fact, building a house is a good parallel to the software development process. To build a solid and reliable building, you absolutely need to draft a drawing and a project design. A good preparation will help to avoid all errors that might cause cracks along the foundation. A list of tools and materials, a plan of engineering communications and construction methods will greatly save time and worry. It is important to confirm the project scope and analyse business processes in advance; otherwise, you will have to rely on assumptions.

It’s worth mentioning that all projects are unique, and not every project requires an extensive discovery phase.

Depending on the degree of involvement in IT processes, there might be different scenarios for the discovery phase. The discovery phase becomes the key to success when your idea needs to be tested in the real world. It is a reliable option to draw the attention of potential investors and share a vision of the business’ prospects. In this case, the IT experts take the idea and help structure all the demands of the project, highlight weak points, define primary goals and test the feasibility of the concept on real users.

The discovery phase helps define the end result and figure out how strong the idea is. During this stage, at Magora, the analysts work in close co-operation with clients to find potential weaknesses and misconceptions, strengthen logic and avoid dead ends. It should be considered how staff, users and management will interact with the new software. Aside from the technical aspects, there are also questions about what guidance and reporting systems are needed. And the final point is to develop a phased implementation plan.

As a result, upon the completion of the discovery phase, there will be a comprehensive, detailed product representation supported by a detailed software description (Software Requirement Specification), roadmap and high-fidelity design.

Detailed and clear documentation results in transparent functionality, based on which precise budgeting and predictable development timeframes will be provided by any of the potential vendors. All of these points are important for ensuring that the stakeholders, early adopters and potential investors become aware of a new project’s functionality and magnitude.

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