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Why the discovery phase really matters in software development

So, you’ve got your idea for a new software product or solution, and now it’s time to put it into code. But before you start clicking away at the first iteration of your product, we want to talk to you about the discovery phase, one of the essential steps in your software development project.

In a study done by McKinsey, it was revealed that 17% of IT projects turn out so bad that they cause the company’s collapse. Furthermore, according to the same study, 45% of projects exceed the estimated budget. Another one done by Geneca found that for 75% of respondents, their projects are either always or usually “doomed right from the start.”

Every software development project comes with a certain amount of risk. Still, the discovery phase can help you significantly increase your chances of finishing your project on budget and on time. In this article, we want to give you an overview of the discovery phase and why it has a significant impact on your business’s outcome and bottom line.

What is the discovery phase in software development?

The purpose of the discovery phase is to collect information about the project through discussions with stakeholders from the client-side. Based on this, the software developer creates the requirements (both business and technical), project scope, and estimation and development costs. 

Depending on the project’s size and complexity, this phase can take from one week to one or two months. And another thing you need to keep in mind is that your input and involvement will be more significant in this phase versus the rest of the project.

Who takes part in these discussions?

Usually, a supplier team includes a:

Business Analyst

Responsible for putting your needs and ideas into technical requirements for the development team. Depending on the project, this role can also conduct market research, perform competitor analysis, create technical documentation, and more.

Lead developer

The main focus of a lead developer is to offer technical solutions for your project. Based on the discovery phase discussions, they will choose the optimum tech stack for your particular needs. Ultimately, your solution’s development will impact the budget and time estimate the most, so it’s essential to have a tech expert present. Sometimes he can also be accompanied by a software architect.


Responsible for the way your product or solution will look. Initially, they will be responsible for giving you a wireframe proposal for your software solution after the end of the discovery phase so you can get an initial look at what they propose.

Project manager

Or an account manager. They are responsible for coordinating the entire project team. Most of the time, they will be your contact person as well.

Why is the discovery phase critical?

Reduce risks and costs

When you agree on the project scope, tech solutions, and architecture for the project, you significantly reduce the risks of missing deadlines or going over budget. These things usually happen when both or either the client or software development supplier don’t have a clear understanding of what the product is and should look like.

Clear project roadmap

After the discovery phase, you should have a clear roadmap from your supplier with the timelines for developing each of the functionalities of your software solution. This allows you to plan for your future launch, work on sales, establish marketing activities, and so on.

Establish priorities

Feature prioritization is one of the pillars of successful software development. It helps you avoid what is known as requirements creep – adding extra elements or functionality that causes the project duration to be extended.

Product vision

Even if you have a pretty clear idea of what you want from your software, chances are you haven’t expressed it in terms of actual functionality. In the discovery phase, you get the opportunity to validate your idea again, refine it and see how it will look in practice. This can help you add new functions or remove some that proved to be unimportant during the discovery phase.

Put your idea into practice

At QTeam Solutions, we’ve worked with hundreds of companies to help them develop, update or improve their software solutions or create an MVP, and we can do the same for you. Book a free consulting session with us, and let’s talk software.