- May 14, 2014
Website Discovery – Prevent Mistakes Later
It hits you in an instant. Like a brick wall. “If I knew then, what I know now, I would have never gone down this path.” That’s an actual client quote, after we had built the client exactly what they’d asked for, despite our multiple warnings. See the client was in a hurry. They didn’t want to take the time to do a Website Discovery and they said they knew exactly what they wanted.That was true, the client did know exactly what they wanted, but that’s not the only thing you need to consider. Every decision has a reaction and many of the requests the client made had either technical impacts or usability impacts. By not addressing these concerns at the begining of the project, we had to address them when they came up, which didn’t really give us enough time to work these ideas out. We never budgeted enough time to completely flesh out these ideas, because the client didn’t want to do a Website Discovery. Our proposed Website Discovery only would have taken a week and because a Website Discovery was declined, we added another month on to the project.
So, what’s a Discovery? A Discovery is when we sit down with the client over several meetings and we break down your project into a series of phases. We talk about your business goals, what you are doing now and what you want to do in the future. More importantly we talk about how to technically do what you are requesting. All of this information goes into what people in the web or software industry call a Design Document or Spec. This is a stand alone deliverable that you receive after we do the Discovery. It literally is a blueprint for how we will build your website or software and you could take that to any developer or programmer and they would be able to build your website or software for you.
How do you know if you need Discovery? Well, that’s an important point, because many clients and developers don’t see the signs as to when it’s important to implement a Discovery. Here’s how to know if you need Discovery.
- You have many stakeholders or decision makers involved in the project.
- Your last project was a disaster with change after change.
- You felt the project was never completed to your satisfaction.
- Your last project actually did not achieve the goal that was intended.
- Your projects routinely go out of budget.
- The client has a hard time defining the project details.
- The client tells you the last project was a disaster.
- The client is in a rush to get started and doesn’t care about details.
- The client starts making changes to the changes they already made.
- The client changes the scope during the project.
All of the information above has come from two decades of website/software development. We are not picking on clients or picking on developers, but what we do know is that when there is a Design Document or Spec, projects go incredibly smooth. It’s like having turn by turn directions on your map. There is less thinking and more doing. Meetings are more productive and there are less of them. Errors and bugs seem few, while deliverables are right the first time.
You will often here us recommend a Discovery. This is not to increase your budget, but a way to create less stress during the building of your project and give you exactly what you want. We encourage you to do a Discovery for your next project. It just works.