Creating Value Through a Digital Project Discovery Phase

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Many of our client engagements at AWH begin with a discovery phase. Some clients understand the value and importance of an initial discovery phase, but many clients cringe at the idea. The clients who cringe do so out of a lack of value perception or a bad experience. The former could be as a result of the latter.

Discovery phases have immense value for clients and us. The purpose of a discovery phase is to provide mutual context and clarity on several key aspects of a project:

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An initial discovery phase is about risk mitigation. It allows both a client and AWH to go for a test drive before committing to dig in with each other on a project. Our typical discovery phase is six to eight weeks. This is enough time to accomplish the keys above and to validate if we should move forward together on the project, or not.

In addition to an initial discovery phase being about risk mitigation, AWH performs valuable work for a client and the client receives some important deliverables. Typical discovery phase deliverables include: a client current state definition document, a client desired future document, a gap analysis defining the gap between a client’s current and future state, and an initial roadmap of future project phases and milestones to get to the future state.

Creating anything is hard and a digital product is no exception. There will be countless unknowns and ups and downs during the course of creating a new digital product. This is true whether the product is a website, a web application, a mobile app, or an IOT product with associated apps and data infrastructure. Every product is unique, and although we have an underlying process that ensures efficient and effective production, each project has its own share of factors to be considered and managed. An initial discovery phase gets a new project off on the right foot to help ensure the smoothest journey possible as the engagement and the work get increasingly more challenging as the project and product evolve.

We encourage any client embarking on a new digital product project to be open to initially engaging with discovery phase as there is great value in doing it. The initial discovery phase will help set the stage for a better project, and in the end, a better product. Building the best product possible should be the goal and is one of our two guiding principles at AWH — 1) Always work in the best interest of the client and 2) Always work in the best interest of the product. An initial discovery phases reflects and honors both of these principles.

If you are thinking about a new digital product for your company or organization and want to discuss an initial discovery engagement to see what makes sense and what is possible, please contact us.

-Ryan Frederick, Principal at AWH, Author The Founders Manual: A Guidebook for Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur.

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