Product Design
February 6, 2024

Discovery Phase for Digital Products

What is it, and what is the purpose of the Discovery Phase?

What is it, and what is the purpose of the Discovery Phase?

First, a bit of definition to help you understand what is a ‘Discovery Phase’. It is an intensive research period that is undertaken at the very start of a digital project, often by a mixture of people such as Business Analysts, UX Designers and Technical Architects. In project management, the discovery phase is an intensive research stage at the beginning of every project to define its scope.

Throughout the Discovery phase, what we are essentially trying to understand from the client is:

  • Where the client wants to get to (desired state)
  • What exists today, in terms of systems, tools, processes (current state)
  • What we need to know and understand to get the organization to the desired state (gap)

The discovery stage is a way to deal with the uncertainty at the start of any project.

Communication, research, and analysis help clarify the goal and define the direction of the development process. It’s necessary to identify and tackle potential roadblocks and risks.

Why is it always a good idea to start with the Discovery Phase?

It allows Stakeholders to avoid paying for a project that doesn't meet their main Business needs. During the Discovery Phase, everything is cleared so all the interested parties know exactly what is going to be built and why. It helps to stop misunderstandings and miscommunication that could cause delays, wasted time and budget, and changes in the scope.

Without measurable deliverables, specified milestones, and success metrics the project implementation can extend forever with many postponed release dates. Changes in requirements or features cause chaos and discourage the development team. It’s extremely important for Product Owners not to change the scope or only adjust it without revolutions. It’s called Scope Creep. The lack of clear goals and direction causes constant requirements changes that increase expenses. The business could run out of money long before the team can deliver the finished or at least usable product (MVP).

Most important deliveries of Discovery Phase:

Outlined Value Proposition - During the Discovery Phase, the team defines two aspects of the value proposition; the benefits it provides and the features that allow it to deliver those benefits.

Clear Success Metrics - set of criteria defined for the development phase. These will work as key factors that will define the success of the project itself and its final implementation.

Clear User-flows - User flow is the path taken by a prototypical user on a website or app to complete a task. The user flow takes them from their entry point through a set of steps towards a successful outcome and final action, such as purchasing a product.

User Personas - A user persona is a semi-fictional character based on your current (or ideal) customer.

Low Fidelity Wireframes - based on User Flows, low fidelity wireframes include the most basic content and visuals and are usually static (not interactive). They are often used to help show page structure, layout, information architecture and functionalities.

Timeline with Milestones - Timeline with all the deliveries from the development team and UI/UX designer set up in estimated time and with dates for deliveries of each function. MVP is highlighted and planned for the beginning of the project.

Estimation of time and budget necessary to deliver the final product  - Estimation shows how much each function will cost by calculating how much it will take a developer to deliver it.

Who is involved?

Business representatives and main stakeholders - from those representatives will emerge a Product Owner who will be the point of contact between Software House and Business and who will be responsible for testing developed work, checking it, guiding the whole team and reporting back to stakeholders.

Project Manager or Business Analyst - to identify, analyse, and record the main project requirements and to turn business goals into functional and non-functional requirements. Later to manage the whole development of the project and report back to the Product Owner.

UI/UX Designer - to prepare all the necessary User Experience materials and then to prepare User Interface.

Technical Specialist/Architect - a Senior Developer who specializes in required tech stack to validate ideas and prepare feasibility of digital products.

How long does it usually take?

It’s based mainly on the Client’s preparations, knowledge and research beforehand.

When Client’s doesn’t have a brief and is only showing up with an idea, then it could last up to 130 hours with a full Discovery Phase.

When Client’s has a Brief and did most of the Product Definition and Product Research on its own, then usually it’s cut short to a Discovery Workshop. The team is doing mostly Wireframes, Technical Requirements, Timeline and Budget Estimations. It takes up to 70-80h.

What should be the outcome of the Discovery Phase?

The outcome of successful Discovery Phase should be:

  • Carried out User and Product Research
  • Individual interviews with current or potential users
  • Competitive research (finding and comparing similar existing products)
  • Defining possibilities for opportunities for product implementation and fulfilling specific needs
  • Clear User-flows
  • User Personas.
  • Established Goals and Project Scope
  • Clear Business Goals
  • Clear Success metrics with Milestones throughout the development phase.
  • Highlighted MVP and the rest of the functions.
  • System technical requirements.
  • Low fidelity Wireframes.
  • Estimates for time and budget necessary to deliver it all with a timeline.


I hope it will help you understand why it is essential to take part in the Discovery Phase at the start of every software development project. It is one of the most important aspects of starting a Startup or creating a new product/function as a Small-Medium Enterprise.

This is the first step of our cooperation with every Client - a full Discovery Phase or a Workshop. We offer you our Co-founder, Senior Tech Leader and experienced UI/UX Designer’s time to prepare it all.

You will get all the outcomes mentioned above. Our extra value offer for you is that when you will decide to develop your Digital Product with us, the Discovery Phase will be complementary.

Write to or comment. I will be happy to answer all your questions.


Are you in need for a software solution?

Related posts