3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Project Discovery

Maximize the potential of your website project by getting the most out of the discovery process with these three tips.

Let’s Set the Stage

You know that your current website has seen better days. It’s utilizing old technology, old branding, an old and possibly outdated content model… It’s time for an overhaul. You prioritized the build of a new website as a major initiative in the current fiscal year. You’ve worked with key stakeholders to identify wants and needs for your new site. With that list, you evaluated design and development firms that can help you achieve your goals and objectives.

You have your “A-Team” selected, and you’re ready to go.

The A-Team has laid out a plan that includes discovery, design, and implementation, which sounds great. However, you really just want to get started. You’re chomping at the bit.

“Never fear,” says the A-Team. “We’ve got your back. We promise that discovery is going to help define your objectives, breathe life into your goals, and establish a pathway to the final product you’ve envisioned.”

“That sounds fantastic,” you say to the A-Team. “How do we make it happen?”

1. Get the Right People Involved


Your organization has put a lot of thought (and probably dollars) into building out a set of requirements that make the most sense for your project. That information lives inside a brain trust that, if left untapped, runs the risk of leaving vital knowledge out that could be crucial in informing the direction of your project. A good discovery team helps ensure that the work you’ve done in gathering requirements is honored and shared so a plan can be assembled (see what I did there?).

But what if we don’t know all the requirements yet, you might ask. That’s okay too. A good agency will ensure that they also bring the right people to the table. People who can ask the right questions and unlock the knowledge that resides within your organization to build out that plan and chart a path forward.

2. Outline Your Tech Requirements

Animated laboratory

Kentico or Jamstack? Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure? Do you have any non-standard integrations or APIs that aren’t particularly well documented that need to be accounted for? Again, a good discovery team on the agency’s side will do the work of asking these questions so that they can formulate a path toward success. Ensuring that your technical team has a good understanding of their requirements or must-haves is essential to achieving your project’s objectives.

Some common areas of focus might include:
  • Development environment—Where will the development environment be hosted, and who is setting it up?
  • With what systems does your website need to communicate? Are those systems documented?
  • Do you have any specifications for the code repository and build pipelines?
  • Do you prefer React or Vue as a front-end technology? Or maybe another option?)
  • How many sites need to be set up?
  • Do you have specific search requirements or dependencies?

In many instances, organizations have teams dedicated to these areas of focus, and ensuring you have those people as part of your discovery team can ensure that nothing gets missed or forgotten.

3. Scheduling is Essential

Calendar pages being torn

This one might seem like a gimme, but I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. Getting the right people on board ensures that decisions are made that continue to drive the project toward a successful implementation phase. Suppose those people cannot be made available, however, and have schedules that do not permit them to participate in the discovery process. In that case, the information you’ve curated and the technical requirements you’ve assembled will remain unrevealed.

Discovery is a commitment. It takes time, consistency, and diligence to ensure that all your project needs get unearthed. Work with your project manager to build out a discovery roadmap that both teams can adhere to, and do your best to ensure that all participants understand the importance of their preparation and participation.

Final Thoughts

These tips ultimately stack or compound; having the right people in the room ensures we iron out the must-haves of a project and narrow in on the technical specifications to come up with a plan for our clients that is tailored to their needs. Adequate scheduling helps us as an agency navigate the sometimes difficult terrain of discovery and drive to answers and solutions more quickly.

We have found these tips to be most beneficial as we’ve worked with hundreds of clients through the discovery process, and we hope this aids you in your discovery journey as well. Finally, if you need strategic experts to help you achieve your goals, we’d love a chance to chat.

Best of Luck!

About the Author

Ian Hilgendorf

Ian came to technology by way of a short-lived sales career. When he realized pounding the phones wasn’t his passion, he started in application support, where he learned that running SQL scripts and playing with enterprise apps was way more fun. Over time, Ian made his way to project management – bringing people, tech, budget, and deliverables together in the service of delighting teams and customers. When he isn’t crafting new spreadsheets, Ian spends time with his wife and three daughters. Ian also enjoys searching for new music and supporting Manchester United.

Subscribe to Our Blog

Stay up to date on what BizStream is doing and keep in the loop on the latest in marketing & technology.