Defining Your Product Through The Discovery Process Before Moving Into Full Development

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The biggest contributing factor in developing a successful application or website is to ensure that your development team fully understands your business goals, and how your new product will support those goals. While you may already have tangible goals in place, they must be translated into a design, features, functions, and flow that will meet your end user’s needs. This will require you and our development team to work through the Product Discovery Process.
In this article you will learn what Discovery Process is and how it will support you and our development team in achieving your ultimate goal of creating the perfect product.

THE DISCOVERY PROCESS

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The Discovery Process is the initial stage of every sound and successful custom software development. It is a critical step handled by business analytics and designs teams, as it is when they gather the in-depth business and product details required to make informed technical recommendations for your product. Discovery aligns development team with yours, as well as the needs of the customers your new application or website will serve. It is also the process in which we help clients who have yet to fully realize the full scope of their project and answer the questions required to set tangible product and performance goals.

REQUIREMENTS AND GOALS IDENTIFICATION

We start Discovery Process by reviewing any existing data, documents, or product outlines—and conducting a series of informative interviews regarding your business and product goals. This is a crucial step in translating your vision into a high performing product. We begin with the basics such as your industry niche and target audience, and work our way to product functionality and interface design preferences. Our informative interviews will be conducted by members of both our business analytics,design and development teams. The Discovery Process will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks to ensure that we have a clear understanding of your expectations, as well as the resources we will need during the development stage. At the end of the Discovery Process we will provide you a packet of information including (clickable prototype, user stories, functional diagrams, list of features for both your MVP and full feature product and finally a detailed product quote).

DESCRIBE ALL FEATURES AS USER STORIES AND IDENTIFY THE MINIMAL VIABLE PRODUCT

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During the Discovery Process, we will outline the features and functions you need your product to achieve, including user stories that detail how and why each feature will be used. This is accomplished by defining the action each feature must perform and in what way it adds value to each user story. Essentially a Who, What, and Why. For example, if a college student clicks on a feature what goal will it achieve and how will it add value? What does the feature need to do next? How does this differ if you are an executive, employee, stay at home mom, etc. We answer these questions feature by feature for your primary user story.
To visually map out each feature we create a wireframe prototype. This is a bare bones model that visualizes and validates the product concept. By prioritizing what will be in the initial version we will accurately define the scope of the project. Establishing scope at this high level helps us to prioritize, ensure we are on the same page, and minimize the uncertainty of how a feature will perform. The wireframe provides direction and support for the remaining decisions that need to be made during the subsequent development phase.

WE TRANSFORM YOUR IDEA INTO A CLICKABLE PROTOTYPE

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The information gathered in your wireframe is then transformed into a clickable prototype. This prototype enables you to see how your interface will flow from one click to the next. This can help to uncover any missing steps or improvements in the chain of use, before we get too far along in the development process.

DETERMINE THE PROJECT SIZE AND ESTIMATE TIME TO DEVELOP EACH FEATURE 

At this stage we gather the information we have learned along the way, and assess the technical complexities required to bring your product to fruition. We will provide you with a timeline for developing and testing each feature, and will deliver your detailed project quote.

PROCESS FLOW DIAGRAMS

Although we already have a bare bone wireframe and a clickable prototype, we create detailed process flow diagrams that assists our back-end development team in creating your fully functioning interface. A set of diagrams is created for each primary feature, including the data and information required to ensure everyone is on the same page—and that the full scope of each feature is understood.

CONCLUSION

Completing a thorough, unrushed, and step-by-step Discovery Process sets a solid foundation for success. It ensures that your new website or application meets your expectations and achieves your business goals. Development is a complex and time-consuming process, so we must get it right the first time. Projects that rush the Discovery Process or skip it altogether are often the apps and websites that fail or underperform.
After the Discovery Process Cider will provide you with a detailed project plan, to include preliminary timelines for delivery and milestone dates. You will also have a:

  • Clickable prototype of your product (mobile app/website);
  • All features description via user stories;
  • MVP identification;
  • Process Flow Diagram;
  • Technology stack;
  • Project estimation.

While 4 to 6 weeks may sound time consuming, starting with the Discovery Process ensures we understand your development and business goals, often shortening the development cycle—and reducing project costs. Not only that, but the informative nature of the Discovery Process almost always uncovers ways in which we can optimize your vision, improve your features, and maybe even add a new feature or two.
In summary, the Discovery Process is essential for minimizing risks, and ensuring that your end product is dynamic and robust.

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