Did you know that no market need is the number one reason why startups fail?
And you know why?
Well, because there was never a project discovery phase, to begin with.
As it turns out most of the startups don’t do a project discovery phase. They tend to associate it with unnecessary expenses and wasted time.
But in reality, the project discovery phase helps startups to save money.
What is the Project Discovery Phase?
The Project Discovery Phase is the first stage in project development where a team of developers does thorough research and analysis of the market, direct and indirect competitors and determines technical specifications of a product.
The project discovery phase is done both from the business and technical sides.
From a business point of view, a team of experts provides a startupper with:
- A thorough analysis of a startup idea
- Study of the project requirements
- Identification of the potential challenges and solutions
From a technical point of view, a software development team provides a startupper with:
- System Requirements Specifications (SRS)
- Technology Stack
- Platform architecture
- Product functionality
- User Flow
Benefits of the Project Discovery Phase For Startups
Running the project discovery phase has a number of advantages for startups. Not only does it prevent startups from failure, but it also helps to save money.
Let’s look at the top perks of the Discovery Phase.
The Project Discovery Phase helps startuppers to reduce risks related to time and money. By running the Project Discovery Phase, a project team has more time to think through all the development specifications, plan sprints and budget.
The startup risk of overrunning the budget is real. According to McKinsey research, the longer you wait to launch the project, the bigger the chance that you’ll run out of money.
You want to build a startup with the idea that came up once. Right, but why do you want to bring this idea to life – is it because of potential money, popularity or promoting your other business? No matter what your intentions are, you need to have a clear goal for your project when you start.
A better understanding of the user needs
Sometimes startuppers tend to forget that they’re building a product for users and not for themselves that’s why they insist on building certain features just because they seem important to them.
In reality, users are the ones that are going to buy, not them. So, keeping that in mind is beneficial both for startup founders with their development team and future users.
By doing a project discovery phase, your team will be able to determine user roles, create a user journey and a user flow.
Let’s face it: most startuppers outsource or outstaff their projects. That’s why it’s crucial to find a product development team to be comfortable with.
The beauty of the discovery phase is that even if you are not satisfied with the team, you can always take the results of the project discovery phase and proceed with the other development team.
How To Run the Project Discovery Phase for a Startup?
The project discovery phase can be divided into several steps:
Define the project goals
We have seen it a million times – a team gathered together to create something with no clear understanding of its purpose. For better business and team functionality, a project goal must be set.
Warning: Building a startup in 3 or 5 months isn’t a goal. The goal has to be measurable. For example, a goal may be traffic growth or an amount of raised funds.
Conduct market research
What is the situation on the market you are about to enter? Is it a promising niche?
By conducting market research, you’ll be able to see a clearer picture in terms of your potential growth.
An important step here is studying your direct and indirect competitors. Direct competitors are the ones that offer the same solution to your target audience. They are the analogues to your product. Indirect competitors don’t offer the same solutions, however, they target the same audience as you do.
Map a customer journey
From the point of seeing an ad for your product on Facebook to buying it – your customer journey should be well-thought and structured. Define the user roles, write down a user flow, and determine actions that your user is going to take.
We shouldn’t be the ones that tell you that poor UX makes customers leave a platform immediately. It’s just the way it is.
In the industry of high competition, a customer has many choices and your platform should be able to capture customers attention. For this, you need to come up with a great UX concept, build wireframes, create the UI and mockups.
Specify technical solutions
The final step of the project discovery phase is usually a big one because that is where you gather all the information and apply it.
Now you should plan a product architecture and functionality. The product features are prioritized by the product quality and value they bring. The features that are seasonal are left for further development stages.
The bottom line is that the project discovery phase is a crucial milestone for startups that shouldn’t be skipped due to someones’ prejudices. The project discovery phase is essentially the first phase for a project development that sets the tone for further project creation. It has both a business and a technical value.
The project discovery phase has also a number of benefits that prove to be very useful in the long run.
The project discovery phase helps to:
- Eliminate risks
- Clarify goals
- Understand better user needs
- Build trust
Running the project discovery phase is 5 core steps:
Step #1: Define the project goals
Step #2: Conduct market research
Step #3: Map a customer journey
Step #4: Build wireframes
Step #5: Specify technical solutions.