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The discovery phase is the most important stage of any development project. This is the time where all requirements, features and goals are spelled out. It’s also the time where the client and the delivery teams determine how they will work together on the project.

Discovery allows for a project roadmap to be put in place. The roadmap built from the discovery process becomes the blueprint for your product or site, setting expectations throughout your organization.

Some of the common pushbacks a delivery team team might hear:

  • Why does it take so long? / I don’t have the time.
  • This costs too much
  • I already know what I need
  • I did this with another team, why do I need to go through it again?
  • Why can’t you just look at [project x] and give me a cost based on that?

A typical discovery would include, but is not limited to sharing vital information and documentation such as:

  • Assessment of technical requirements (platforms, tools, hosting)
  • Competitive analysis
  • Usability testing and complete audit of your current site
  • Business overview: determining roadblocks in the workflow
  • Timeline and deliverable expectations

Without the answers to these questions, key features that may be cost prohibitive are often overlooked without a thorough discovery process.

This also provides a 10,000 ft view of the project, whether the budget fits the stated goals, or if the delivery team is capable of handling the project. It’s better to get these variables known in discovery, rather than commit to an unrealistic or rushed timeline.

While a thorough discovery may seem overwhelming, the process helps you and your clients avoid wasting money and the most valuable resource: time. It also helps your organization get a better handle on its business and organizational goals. 

The time spent adds value to the client/development relationship: the client gets to know how the development team works, and the development side gets to know more about the client’s products, services, goals and culture.

A thoughtful and thorough discovery is worth the time and effort and ensures a successful outcome for the client as well as the development team. 

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash



At SUMO Heavy, we’ve built our own discovery methodology, based on our years of project experience. We take the usual discovery process a step further, by providing your team with an actionable, measurable plan.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more content around our process, including a few episodes on the topic on our podcast ‘In the Ring’.

If you’d like to be notified when they’re published sign up below