The Value of the Discovery Process in Software Development

The software development process can go in many directions. Our clients — of course — want it to go down the path of efficiency, innovation, and growth. To get there effectively, we implemented our Discovery process to create the best possible software for users’ needs with minimal risk.

We’ve written about how our Discovery process will make you win at software development in detail here. To summarize what we do, we first heavily research the client, their customers and other stakeholders, and the market to fully understand everyone’s needs. Then, we create mockups and user flows to identify all of the requirements for the product and begin feedback-fueled iterations before moving into the actual development process.

This is a robust process that can take several weeks to complete, depending on the size and scope of the project. Because software development can be costly timewise as well as financially, it is absolutely imperative to make sure you’re doing it right. The Discovery process ensures that accuracy and efficiency, so we’ve made it mandatory and we no longer accept work unless the client is open to this fundamental aspect of our operations.

Many of our clients are eager for us to start writing code right away. Sometimes they don’t fully grasp the value of Discovery until later when they’ve seen how it mitigates risk and saves them time and money. We’ve saved clients hundreds of thousands of dollars because of this process.

Here are a couple of examples:

Air Innovations

Our client, Air Innovations, needed help streamlining its customer support services for its brand, Wine Guardian.

In the research phase of the Discovery process, we found that internal support staff, distributor representatives, installation technicians, and end users all needed access to product data to be associated with support tickets. They required a unique serial number that would be key in helping support staff troubleshoot issues. That said, customers were not able to access the serial number on the product after installation.

Wine Guardian was burdened by a lot of requests for common issues, so providing a general support database based on product serial numbers would help staff focus on more critical issues. If we had started development without doing this research, we wouldn’t have found that customers often don’t have access to the information needed for support, and the problem would have persisted. In other words, we would have built a solution that didn’t address the core problem.

Identifying that concern upfront helped us come up with a solution that saved Air Innovations a lot of time, money, and headaches. The Discovery process helps us find these roadblocks before we get into writing code, so we don’t have to undo all the work we did before finding them.

IngleDodd Media

One of our LA-based clients, IngleDodd Media, was looking to build a web application to help automate its customized sales process. For many years, the sales process had consisted of various Excel spreadsheets that were manually updated throughout the sales cycle.

During the research phase, we conducted interviews with stakeholders and end-users. The end users consisted both of internal company users who would be interacting on the admin side, and client-side end-users who would be interacting on the public-facing interface. During the interviews, we validated and disproved some of the assumptions the IngleDodd team was making regarding the client-side users. This helped us design wireframes and mockups that aligned with the pain points of their customers.

Another part of the Discovery phase included researching CRMs in the publishing industry. Through our research, we discovered an alternative to the CRM that IngleDodd is currently using. Switching to a modern platform that allows seamless integration with a custom web application can potentially save IngleDodd Media thousands of dollars of development work.

Secure Donation Processing with Ethereum Smart Contracts

On a recent blockchain project for a client’s campaign, we started with our Discovery process in order to de-risk our client’s software investment. Discovery helps us to ensure that we build a solution that actually satisfies users’ requirements and capably solves the client’s problems. Going into Discovery, we learned that preliminary assumptions regarding how the solution should be architected actually turned out to be false. With Discovery, we were able to break down those initial assumptions and propose a much more simplistic and elegant architecture that helped us to accelerate development and save our client money.

The right software can change everything. By selecting Upstate Interactive, our clients choose to put their future in our custody. We return their trust through uncompromising service, growth-sparking solutions, and real results.

Schedule a free consultation here.

kristen @ upstate interactive

Written by

writer. good witch.

Upstate Interactive

We're a women-owned business that helps B2B organizations turn great ideas into software.

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