There is nothing quite like a new project ahead, to get you excited for work!
Who wouldn’t jump at the chance of doing something they believe will bring value to the lives of those around them? All those ideas that have been swirling around in your head for so long finally out in the world? Pretty awesome.
New clients, new vision, a new chance for you to make this new project the experience you’ll be referencing with pride to your fellow business partners for months to come.
Whether you've been in the game for a while or you're only just beginning to test the waters of your business environment, it's important to keep your head straight and approach the project like a professional.
And how else are you going to show everyone, yourself included, that you're a pro than by laying a strong foundation to your project?
This is where the Discovery Phase comes into play.
What is the Discovery Phase?
A Discovery Phase is an important and accelerated research period when those who are involved in a certain project establish the scope of their task.
So, basically, it has to do with professionals dedicating time to identify specific goals and to conducting research. And guess what? This could actually be the difference between failing and succeeding in your business.
I mean, you make several decisions in your business on a daily basis (such as talking to clients or making sure payments are done in time) and yet you'd never just assume that any of these decisions would simply “work out somehow.” So why be passive when it comes to setting your business on track from the start?
The key here is to know exactly what you want to achieve. Set clear goals and follow the roadmap which leads to those desired goals. Why is this so important?
Because kind of knowing what you need to do, or being uncertain about the way you’re supposed to handle the project is never a good sign when it comes to the way you are to tackle a task.
A Discovery Phase is a detailed framework that helps with keeping everybody involved on the right track.
Put simply, it is the initial stage of the project which involves extensive research, analysis and planning that helps you make decisions based on data instead of guesswork.
Of course, all businesses may at some point or another experience some sort of feeling of being overwhelmed or running a chaotic project, but it shouldn’t become the normality you are facing on a daily basis. Not if you want to experience success and develop flourishing relationships with your clients in the future.
So, convincing yourself that you’ll take care of each inconvenient aspect as it arises is not the way to go.
Why is it important to consider the Discovery Phase?
Running a project of any kind can be tough, there's no question about it.
And so, naturally, the tendency to skip certain steps is alluring. However, weakening key parts of a project will ensure failure early on. That's why you shouldn’t be surprised if it happens.
I know what you’re thinking when disappointment stares you in the eyes: more money would have definitely turned the situation around, more time would have been just the thing to save the project, or maybe the team is in need of some team building exercises.
The excuses vary according to each culprit’s ego and because you’re only human, to some degree at least they are all acceptable.
Yes, you're under tons of pressure to get things done.
Yes, proper research could get quite pricey.
Yes, you're excited to get going.
You were spiraling there for a second.
What should you do instead? They say to measure twice and cut once. So don’t start out of fear and insecurity. Take the time to think through your moves.
Once you've done proper research, there’s a slim chance you'll stray away from the goals you’ve set. The result? Fewer refunds, less misjudgment, less unnecessary expenses.
A successful project needs a Discovery Phase in order for more convenient solutions to be shaped out. Maybe you could do things cheaper? Faster? Both?
This first stage of your project ensures that you manage to get done the things you're supposed to get done.
Let’s take a closer look at how a proper Discovery Phase can improve your new project.
What are the benefits of the Discovery Phase?
Just take a moment and think about how this approach would make you look in front of your clients. Simply promising the success of a business will not do, but educating clients about the advantages of a Discovery Phase when it comes to their business is the way to go.
There are many benefits to the Discovery Phase, but here are the main ones you should take into consideration:
1. You’ll be able to make business decisions based on hard data, not guesswork
Research always comes in handy to the team working on a certain project, and it’s useful for the client to also be in the know about the options that are available to them. When these two sides are in agreement, the end results can only be wonderful.
Additionally, it saves you the embarrassing task of having to be persuasive toward your client without being able to reference anything substantial in particular. However, with the data resulted from the Discovery Phase, you can navigate the information together and make sure that you are building the best plan of action.
2. You won’t have any unexpected costs throughout the project
Here’s the thing, any level-headed person that does some sort of business will be ready for some extra costs. However, that does not mean that if further costs do indeed appear, they have to derail the whole course of action.
So, in order to avoid any unexpected costs, make sure you have a properly done Discovery Phase.
3. You’ll have a clear view of your business goals and what your user wants and needs
This is it! Relating these components to one another from the beginning saves you maybe not the sweat, but definitely the tears. If you have this dynamic figured out, you might as well walk with a little more pep in your step.
While it may be too early to pop up the champagne, you can definitely put it in the freezer.
In fact, understanding how this triad works informs your use of resources, which more often than not can be a matter of conflict. Therefore, the sooner you know how to put into motion what you’ve got, the more profitable.
Steps in the Discovery Phase
At its basic, a Discovery Phase is a clear-cut process. It fundamentally involves:
- having business goals determined
- having criteria to measure the progress of your project
- conducting user research
- outlining the customer journey
- examining the competition
All of these steps help procedures run smoothly and deliver accurate results. From interviews to questionnaires and surveys, very specific information can be gathered and used to create the appropriate direction for your business.
Or you could always hire a medium. That’s a joke. Do not hire a medium. Business mediums are not a thing. If you really want a data-based vision of the future of your project, invest in a Discovery Phase and start working with some concrete, unbiased material that isn’t trying to scam you out of your hard-earned savings.
The period in which the Discovery Phase is completed is very much dependent on the requirements that go into it, but on average, it takes up to 8 weeks. Yes, it’s that serious. It paints the context in which your work will be set.
If the context is inaccurate, no amount of good intentions, impressive résumés plus all the time and money in the world will be enough to save your project.
The right context constructed through the Discovery Phase already places you in the right setup. From there on, all that is needed is hard work and dedication.
To argue that the Discovery Phase is one of the most important parts of a project is a reasonable thing to do. Struggling to get your business going when others are investing in complex research in order for their endeavors to be on the right track would set you in a tremendously disadvantaged position.
Frankly, you can’t compete with that.
Your team is great. Amazing!
You got that investor ready to drop a huge check on all these ideas. Awesome!
But if you think you are ready for this ship to sail, then you better have an exhaustive map at hand.
You're still on the fence about putting money into the Discovery Phase? Well, now that you know what it actually brings to the table, you’ll also know better what it’ll cost you not to do it.