Why You Really Do Need the Discovery Phase

“I don’t understand why you are proposing we spend this much time discovering what this project is about, when I can tell you right now!”

This is a commonly expressed and entirely understandable sentiment of many in senior management about to contract out the development of a mobile app. Everyone wants their app developed yesterday and expects to jump directly into development as soon as possible.

What these CEOs (and myself until not long ago) don’t realize is that in order to build an app of the quality they expect and that we can be proud of, having a dedicated discovery phase is a must.

What is the Discovery Phase?

12Rockets-discoveryphaseYou can think of the discovery phase as something akin to all of the pre-writing work your English teacher made you do in high school. Initial research allowed you to see what was out there and then enabled you to begin focusing in on a viable topic.

Next, crafting an outline helped lay out a plan both of the exact work to be done and the order necessary for your paper to flow logically and intuitively from one part to the next.

This is the discovery phase in a nutshell. It is the preliminary research that enables our developers and designers to understand what you do and what you need the app to do. The discovery phase is a collaborative process in which we lay out the outline for the project together.

At first, this may appear unnecessarily time consuming, but like in English class, spending the time to understand what you are doing and ironing out a plan of attack results in much more focused and efficient work, and ultimately in the best possible final product.

What you get out of the Discovery Phase

Not only does the discovery phase result in a more focused and efficient development process, but it also provides you with tangible deliverables to help you make the final decision about working with us.

Interactive Wireframes and Visual Design Direction

In close consultation with you, our designers will work out a preliminary visual design direction as well as the initial set of interactive wireframes. By understanding your business and who your end users are, we can layout an intuitive and empathetic UI/UX tailored specifically to the needs of your app. This results in a design moodboard, colors, typography and icons style guide that works with your brand.

storyboard

Functional Specification and Cost Projection

At the conclusion of the discovery phase, we deliver the complete functional specification of the project detailing all of the features and how they should interact. This detailed writeup of all features and preliminary design direction then allows us to deliver the final development timeline and fixed cost of the project.

At this point, it is up to you to decide if we’ve clicked and are a good fit for carrying out the rest of the project. Whether you choose us or not, the deliverables remain yours.

The discovery phase is the key to building an effective mobile app. It helps ensure that we understand each other, and lays the framework for an efficient and productive partnership that is free of surprises.