App Development

Discovery: The Best Insurance For Product Success

October 30, 2018

For the highest level of sustainability, your company has to deliver ever-increasing levels of performance. Transformative business solutions are so complex that bringing them to life means that you and your tech partner have to align, collaborate, and communicate more effectively than ever.

Targeted functionality, cost savings, business growth, legally compliant security–these are typical boxes to check. What isn’t always considered is that none of these objectives will succeed without a real-deal UX package that’s streamlined and appealing. And the brain behind the product lifecycle establish vision alignment, product management, and roadmapping.

A healthy discovery defines design and delivery of a product with impact and longevity.

Step One: The Right People in One Room

Lining up the right people includes getting early attention and buy-in from your executives, including the C-levels. Winning over this audience vastly increases your app’s success potential. They add crucial energy and visibility by articulating their vision and goals, which clarifies the project from the beginning.

Additionally, if your true stakeholders convey a sense of authorship toward the app, they will set the tone and work to manage everyone’s expectations throughout the partnership. They can mitigate potential conflicts, especially if they align to answer the essential questions:

What is being proposed?

How it will be built?

What it will cost?

How long it will take?

Who are the target users?

What value will the solution bring to the user?

Equally as important, however, is input and a tangible sense of ownership by those who will be responsible for managing the project/product. People who hold relevant power in your company must not only understand what the app will accomplish, but they also have to understand the nature of the design and development process. Discovery aligns people, perspective, and expertise. It builds a foundation for the trusted partnership that will ultimately bring this app vision to life.

Healthy Planning Prevents Project Panic

Innovation partners should execute based on business vision and user value. Although not product owners themselves, these partners productize the services and processes that create an app experience. A discovery process that doesn’t cut corners sets a defined course for the work. But businesses will often look for these shortcuts out of cost-saving habit.

Skipping discovery for the sake of quick development sets the table for poor performance and failure. Additionally, rushing through discovery can result in a longer timeline for actual work because process inefficiencies lead to re-working. These mutual frustrations usually impact budget and can be avoided if proper time and planning is allocated for set-up.

Roadmaps don’t power innovation, but they direct innovation teams to deliver on truly customized and executable solutions.

Sites Along the Discovery Roadmap

  • Your business goals and KPIs
  • Budgetary and timeline considerations/expectations
  • Project scope, definition, and estimations
  • Initial designs, UX/UI
  • Future maintenance requirements and management
  • Performance metrics
  • Deployment plan
  • Test strategy
  • Technical architecture framework
  • Security and compliance requirements
  • Future intentions/longevity
  • Release plan

These items don’t have to be in order, and many are happening at the same time. The concern is more around making sure you have all of these items planned out prior to design and development. Skipping even a few of these checkpoints means an increased risk for failure to launch or a product rescue mission. No one wants to see either one of those situations as the budget runs out. A solid roadmap provides approximately 80% confidence that the backlog will be built out based on an accurate understanding of your company’s needs and goals.

Proof of ROI Through Milestone Releases

Fact: At the end of the discovery process, there’s no working software to stand on. This is what makes communicating the benefits of discovery so challenging. Since the KPIs and metrics are not yet tangible, milestone releases must work to fill this gap.

Prototyping steps provide stakeholders with initial vision into potential ROI, thanks to the power of UX strategy and validation. Prototypes, either low or high-fidelity, also allow for vital feedback and direction. Seeing an iterative evolution and continuous communication promotes more trust, confidence, and enthusiasm for the creative development process.

Discovery More Than Pays for Itself

You can view discovery in terms of your company’s own R & D process. Engaging in user research when it comes to developing your own products should be no different than performing this service for a business partner. A 4 – 6 week commitment for alignment, definition, and planning saves weeks or months on the back end. These savings, paired with a successful launch helps ensure ROI for discovery.

Reinforce the Vision

There is a grey area between discovery and execution where some businesses start to second-guess their vision. They get distracted by what their competition is doing and often will consider going in a different direction–all because they’re paying more attention than they were.

Stay the course. Reinforce the reason you started the project and the tactics/solutions that are within reach to make it happen. If you start questioning your own vision, that’s when you lose significant ground to your competitors. Your delay helps them grab more market share and establish their brand. A full discovery process helps eliminate the delay of doubts and second thoughts with confidence and action.

Project Planning Role Model: The Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturing companies are setting a positive trend of buying into full discovery processes for app design and build projects. Fighting against their antiquated reputation, companies in this industry feel huge pressure to evolve digitally and automate their manual processes. High-level industrial executives have been more committed to and involved in digital strategy because they see this particular moment as an inflection point. As their distributors and partners start to sway younger, automated, seamless workflows become the rule, not the exception.

In the face of this transition, manufacturers readily embrace the upfront investment needed for research, planning, and partnerships. They recognize there’s room at the top and that defining the right technology implementations can quickly vault them to a leadership position within the industry. The outcome of this open mindset is that 73% of industrial manufacturing CEOs list mobility as one of their top three priorities for attaining competitive advantage. And without discovery, mobility often lacks true forward progress.