Modification date: October 4, 2020

What Is Discovery, and Why Do We Need It for Software Development?

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Syberry

When it’s time to kick off a new custom software project, many businesses are champing at the bit to get started. They’re eager to launch their new software and start seeing results, and we can’t blame them. But if we hit the ground running right away, we’re actually doing our customers a disservice. In reality, the first thing we need to do is hit the brakes on development and kick off our partnership with a thorough discovery process.

It may be tough to have this kind of patience at the outset, but the discovery process saves significant time, resources, and headaches in the long run, ensuring an efficient development process so our customers can launch a clean, fully functioning software solution as soon as possible.

What Is Discovery?

Discovery is the process by which the development team and the customer sit down to develop a clear and complete understanding of the goals for the new software application and the ways it will support the client’s most pressing needs.

The discovery process looks a bit different from vendor to vendor, but at Syberry, it involves the whole team, including leading players on the client’s side as well as a hand-selected project manager, design team, and development team who are well versed in the client’s business and needs. The Syberry team also includes a business analyst who is responsible for collecting all the relevant data and information to create detailed specifications and mockups, and a software architect who designs the structure of the system and identifies the technical standards — a crucial process, especially for systems that need to be scalable.

The team’s first task is to identify and clarify the client’s goals and customer personas, gather any existing materials or documents relevant to the product, and analyze similar software solutions from other companies. All of this information helps the developers identify the problems this product will solve and understand what will work best for its intended users, whether they’re the client’s employees or its customers.

Next, we use all the information we gathered during the first phase to create a mockup of the product, outlining user journeys, design elements, and requirements. Then we use feedback from the client to iterate on these mockups as much as we need to in order to ensure our team and our client’s team are aligned in their expectations and pleased with the target result.

While we’re iterating these mockups, we also start to identify the technologies that will be best suited to meet our client’s unique needs. At Syberry, our agile team is technology-agnostic, meaning we don’t limit our capabilities by selling or promote specific technologies. Instead, we use our broad expertise to choose just the right stacks and components for each customer.

Once we’ve worked with the client to nail down the target result and its requirements, we enter the last phase of the discovery process, which is to create and deliver the project roadmap that shows clients what we plan to build, test, and deliver at every phase of the project.

Once the discovery process is complete — and not a moment before — our developers can finally get to work building your custom software solution.

Why Is Discovery Important?

Imagine trying to complete a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle with no picture to guide you.

  • Or playing a new board game without reading the instructions first.
  • Or building a house without any blueprints.

You may have a vague idea of what the end result should look like, but without detailed guidelines from everyone involved, the process will be messy and inefficient, and the end result may or may not be what the client had anticipated. In the case of the builder without any blueprints, he may manage to build a functional house, but he has no way to know whether it will really meet the client’s needs and expectations in terms of size, style, cost, or number of rooms.

The same principles apply to software development. If all we know is that our client wants a new CRM system to improve customer retention, we can build a CRM based on best practices for customer retention. But if we don’t sit down with our client to learn about their current pain points, their customers’ needs, and their specific requirements, our software will be built on nothing but educated guesses — and who knows whether it will solve the client’s problems?

What’s more, completing the discovery process before development begins gives clients the opportunity to make informed decisions about how to proceed with their project’s development. Once they understand the full picture and all it’s technical implications, they may decide to make strategic or functional changes to the software. Without discovery, these changes would come mid-development, and they’d add significant cost and resources to the project.

Scrimping on the discovery process — or skipping it altogether — may mean getting the project started faster, but it will invariable lead to mismanaged expectations, costly revisions, and a much longer timeline than the client had hoped for.

It’s not easy to be patient when you’re excited about all the ways your new application will help your company grow, but rest assured that the discovery process is critical to a successful engagement, and the time we spend on it upfront will pay off many times over in the long run.

Contact us today to learn more about Syberry’s custom software development process.

Publication date: October 8, 2018

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What our customers say about us

Syberry has provided satisfactory services thus far, and they are very responsive to any issues that arise. The team also possesses strong communication skills. They delivered a functional piece of software at a reasonable price, and they've managed the project very well.

Richard Harkness

CEO, ADEPT Driver

Elk Grove, CA

How we help ADEPT Driver Company

We developed a web-based driving simulator for teens and another for adults. The products run on Chromebooks, and the team added features that enable them to measure a driver's ability to avoid a crash.

Technologies used

I don't think you could find a better company to manage and build your project. I get so many compliments on my application, and it has a lot of unique and complex development.

Todd Surber

CEO, PIXRIT

Charleston, South Carolina

How we help PIXRIT Company

A photographer approached us to build a web-based software platform that combines the fastest social media manager with state-of-the-art galleries and provides the ultimate tool for photographers to upload, store, back up, and share their photos and manage their SMM activities.

Technologies used

The user-friendly software hasn’t encountered any issues or bugs in more than three years. It’s high quality has helped grow the clientele. Straightforward and consistent in communication, Syberry met every deadline and ensured a hassle-free development process.

Vince Hughes

Owner, Steel Estimating Solutions

Knoxville, TN

How we help Steel Estimating Solutions Company

Our client was inspired to create a product that helps steel erection companies perform faster, more efficient estimations and bids. We developed original proprietary software from the initial concept.

Technologies used

The new platform received positive feedback and performs better than its predecessor. Syberry communicated the project’s progress to their partners well by breaking down their steps and utilizing a management system. Most importantly, they delivered world-class service for a cost-efficient price.

Bill Fahy

Owner, FDI Creative Services

Houston, TX

How we help FDI Creative Services Company

Following strict regulations and requirements, we used AWS to develop a custom e-commerce web app that includes shipping integration. Since the site’s launch, the team has continued to make updates.

Technologies used

The application was delivered on time and within budget. Syberry explained their process thoroughly and accommodated to scope changes effortlessly. Their stellar project management, highly responsive communication, and proactive attitude set them apart.

Ricardo Casas

CEO, Fahrenheit Marketing

Austin, TX

How we help Fahrenheit Marketing Company

We developed a large, complex .NET application with various third-party integrations. The team built the software from scratch based on existing wireframes.

Technologies used

The end solution exceeded the client’s expectations. Syberry delivered high-quality products on time and at outstanding value. They provided frequent updates and repeatedly sought feedback at each stage. Customers can expect a highly experienced team that easily translates concepts into solutions.

Rudy Milkovic

Executive Director, Velicom

Austin, TX

How we help Velicom Company

Our team built video streaming software as a web and desktop app for a third-party client. We completed end-to-end development—from scoping to feedback cycles to QA—using PHP and Wowza Streaming Engine.

Technologies used

Syberry has successfully improved the frontend performance of the platform and continues to make thoughtful suggestions for enhancements. They have proven to be communicative and reliable, mitigating the common concerns of outsourced teams. Syberry remains mindful of business goals and client needs.

Cory Kowal

VP of Products, THG Energy Solutions

Tulsa, OK

How we help THG Energy Solutions Company

Taking over for another vendor, we served as the ongoing software engineering partner for an energy company’s cloud-based platform. The company provided scoping, development, testing, and deployment services.

Technologies used

The added team members sufficiently fulfilled the needs of the project. The product was successfully launched and has received positive feedback. Syberry continues to be a supportive partner in development. They provide an impressive team and their expertise fosters a smooth collaboration.

Chris Cox

CTO, MyMelo

Louisville, Kentucky

How we help MyMelo Company

We provided staff augmentation resources for a development project. The team contributed engineers to follow an established roadmap to perform updates and add features.

Technologies used

Syberry delivered a solid website that has become a database of close to 40 organizations. The team worked quickly and efficiently to get the website up and running, and they continue to invest their time into the project. Additionally, they have been a communicative partner.

David Snyder

Product Director, Covid Resource Network

West Orange, New Jersey

How we help Covid Resource Network Company

The company developed a website that serves as a database where organizations can find and donate to other organizations. Currently, the team is working on enhancing the website and fixing bugs.

Technologies used

When the system is up and running, it will save time for the internal team. Syberry was a patient partner, and they performed well throughout the collaboration.

Joyce Cubio

VP of Operations, Ernie's Mobile Home Transport

Yuba, California

How we help Ernie's Mobile Home Transport Company

The team built an information hub for a mobile home transport and permit service. After discussing the existing system and processes, we delivered a new structure for forms and data.

Technologies used

All deliverables have exceeded expectations and function properly once launched. The Syberry team is skilled in juggling multiple projects, and provide strong expertise in software development. Their dedication to the project has fostered continual success in the engagement.

John Fox

Executive VP, Fox Business Automation Solutions

Lakeland, Florida

How we help Fox Business Automation Solutions Company

Brought on as a third party, we supplied ongoing development services. The team work on multiple projects and deliver according to predetermined design specifications.

Technologies used

Contact us to learn more about how Syberry can help your business achieve its every goal!

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