What is the Discovery Phase? Why do you need it?

If you pay little attention to evaluation, you can fly a lot with the total cost of work. If you conduct detailed analysis at once, you will have to pay the specialists who will be involved.

To accurately assess the project, you need to know the boundaries of the system and understand how long it will take to identify requirements, analyze, and draft the terms of reference.

It means that the customer orders the analytics stage and pays for it. 

This stage allows using the clients` resources rationally. 

Who’s involved in the discovery:

  • Project manager;
  • Analyst; 
  • Designer; 
  • Technical specialist; 
  • Customer.

If the customer is actively involved in the process of determination of development stages, programmers will do ordered tasks efficiently. Daily calls at this stage are more a requirement than a recommendation.

The analyst is responsible for identifying, analyzing, and fixing the requirements, designing the system logic, and building professional relationships. He translates business objectives into functional and non-functional requirements.

UX and UI designer.

The project manager is the main responsible for the project. Organizes teamwork, client communications and weekly reporting, resource reservation, and delivery of artifacts to the client on time and with the proper quality.

A technical specialist is a developer. He analyzes the artifacts of the storage phase to ensure that the designed business logic is technically feasible and offers the best architectural solution.

Nowadays, some IT and Tech companies propose this pre-stage of software development. Here is an example of such one.

Step by step

Move from global business goals and tasks to specific user actions in the system. After each stage, you should provide a separate artifact with fixed requirements.

There exist obligatory and optional artifacts. The final set depends on the customer’s goals. Roughly speaking, for the presentation of an idea to stakeholders, make a presentation or design concept.

The first artifact is Mind Map, which describes the general scopes of identified business goals and tasks. The final one is a development assessment with a detailed breakdown into functions, taking into account approved non-functional requirements, and an hourly assessment of necessary labor costs.

Functional requirements

The main objective: 

  • To prioritize business-critical non-functional requirements and determine how they affect the complexity and cost of system development.


  • The analyst and the customer. Supervised by the project manager and agreed by the technical specialist.

Necessity: A mandatory artifact.

Non-functional requirements describe the system but are not explicitly functional. They may strongly influence the development cost. If the programmers` team does not consider them with the client, they may kill the project.

For example, if a client makes the task regarding a bilingual localization, and he wants to run in China and the USA. If the programmers` team does not reveal this intention, the project will be wrongly lead.

This artifact should give an idea of 

what is the environment 

what methods we need to achieve goals 

 what global problem it solves 

Who are the users of the system

what constraints it will have to face. How to handle them.


The main goal: 

  • To harmonize the basic style of the system.


  • Analyst, designer, and customer.

An optional artifact is usually used only in four cases: 

This team will develop the design.

It was a request for the development to do an interactive prototype.

The customer has applied only to the design concept.

The design concept is a conceptual development of the appearance of the application, consisting of one or two main screens. It is a fundamental idea that gives the design meaning and direction.


The purposes of wireframes are to show the main content groups, the information structure, and how the user interacts with the interface.


  • Designer; 
  • Analyst; 
  • Customer.

A project manager will moderate the project. Then a technical specialist will review it.

You should use wireframes if you work on a user scenario. Then show how the user comes to the expected result; evaluate the design already in the discovery phase; create an interactive prototype.

Wireframe gives a preliminary understanding of the future UI, UX infrastructure. In addition to this, it usually displays the business case. It gives you an idea of which screens to include in the interactive prototype.

It is important to note that the discovery phase can add value to your project. You can revise it by the following link – 



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