Discovery Phase and Developing a Product Requirements Document
In fact, there is one solution to all these problems. You need to eliminate the unknowns. There is a way to
1.Clearly define the structure of the project and see what you are going to get as a result.
2.Learn what backend will ensure the working "copy" of an existing project and how much labor you need to create that copy in general.
3.Calculate how much you need for your startup and get the documentation and high-fidelity wireframes to convince your investors.
4.Identify the resources you need for a redesign project.
5.Draw up comprehensive documentation, which is key to a successful project.
It’s the Discovery phase.
What is the Discovery phase?
Discovery phase is a phase when, together with a web development company, you
Clarify core business logic and processes of your project
Deeply research needs in order to find all the pitfalls and risks
Check the best solutions for your project and its features
Get a holistic visual picture of your project
Create a detailed description of functions, validations, features, negative cases, database integrity, and other technical aspects
As a result of this research, you create the PRD.
There are two key components of creating a successful PRD: you should be involved at maximum and the company should ask the right questions and consult you about the realization of your particular wishes and requirements.
That’s where the expertise of the web development company, its experience and its ability to understand the client is vital. PRD must be created in compliance with all the standards and must really take into account all the details. This document
Ensures you get the results claimed in this document;
Ensures it happens within the estimated time limit and budget;
Protects you from the situation when the developers misinterpret your idea and suddenly deliver the wrong product;
Allows the development company to estimate the project with considerable accuracy;
Allows all the participants of the development process to be on the same page.
The structure of the project
Public part It’s a part of the project everybody will see, for example, website pages.
how the user is going to register, log in, change a password;
what functions will be available in the personal account depending on the user type (e.g., Premium or Standard account);
other specifics of the personal account.
Admin panel The admin panel is a module for managing the website, creating content, and following business metrics. There are some projects where admin panel development takes 3/4 of time.
Notifications Often, when planning a project, clients and developers agree upon “we need some notifications here and there.” When it comes to developing this part, it causes delays and extra expenses. That’s why you might find it helpful to create a detailed list of all the notifications, including the text and conditions under which they are displayed.
Background processes It’s a part of the project, invisible to users: sending mail, payment processing, image processing, cleaning up.
Project infrastructure The server part is described, including the load-capacity analysis.
The project structure is the foundation of the project allowing everybody to be on the same page. All the participants of the process will refer to it. A developer will check what to build and how; a QA will look up how it should work; clients will check what functionality and features they’ve approved and whether the result meets the agreed specifications.
Defining how your project will feel
There are two more important aspects of the project validation. They are high-fidelity wireframes and a workflow (or an interaction map).
High-fidelity wireframes (desktop mobile version) are black and white layouts that outline features, the size, and placement of page elements, navigation, and a user’s actions on the website pages.
When we start developing wireframes and show each action a user will take, the structure of each functional block becomes clear. So does the level of complexity of a project. In this way, you can make decisions at the early stage of the project, when the investments are at a minimum. You are free to test various ideas because making changes to the wireframes takes usually 5 - 15 minutes. For the actual project, it can take days and weeks.
There were cases when the project appeared to be larger and more expensive, and the clients paused it after seeing wireframes. Other clients, after the analysis and wireframes creation, found their project simpler and cheaper. It also happened that the project proved to be more expensive, but the clients managed to get the necessary budget after they showed the wireframes to the investor. High-fidelity wireframes allow you, the investor, the development team and other project participants to receive a tactile response to fill in the real volumes of the upcoming work at an early stage of the project design phase.
Workflow based on wireframes
When complicated navigation is necessary, it’s useful to create a workflow based on wireframes. This is a detailed map of the user journey. Note that, while mapping the interaction, you should think of the negative experience as well as positive. Consider cases like the items out of stock and users’ misprints filling in their data.
Note: The main value of developing High-fidelity wireframes and Workflow is that all project participants are on the same page. This is very essential for calculating the exact estimate of the project and the real deadline.
Working on the structure of the project
What do you need to draw up the structure of your future website, web application, or a browser extension?
A brief. It’s a description of the project covering the basic information about the scope of the project, its objectives, the business logic.
Technologies. The list of technologies used for the development should be created during the whole Discovery phase. As soon as functionality or a feature is approved, the tech required to build it is added. The list includes also links to all the APIs documentation, services to use in the project, and future cloud-providers with the links to official websites and pricing, and external libraries.
Questions and answers. As you discuss the objectives, the development company asks questions to specify the details. In the process, not only the developers but often the clients themselves understand the project better.
Note: The process of working together with the team who will build the project is essential. This very process allows you to understand all the aspects and details of your project and ensure you get what you need. Usually, you turn to a web development company because you have some business needs. Working on the structure of the project allows you to transform your business needs and your wishes into specific functionality and features. Sometimes, your vision of the results you want completely change after the discussions and the consultations of professionals.