Building digital products:

3 reasons to start with a discovery workshop

When you set about a digital transformation, there will be excitement and lots of ideas on your team or the entire organisation. It is an exquisite kind of energy to have when building your new website, your new mobile app, or a piece of software for your business. Yet, revamping the digital footprint will also require careful planning and considerations, especially in the early stages, including ideation and project scoping.

At Infosit, we do that through a discovery workshop - a structured session with clients and partners in which we define the shape and scope of digital products.

1. It helps clarify your business needs

 ux workshop

Workshops of this kind are nothing new in the world of digital user experiences. By now, it has been widely accepted that they are essential to getting projects started on the right foot. At Infosit, we host them as half-day, all-day, or multi-day interactive sessions, with all the stakeholders from your side participating. One or two people from our side will moderate the workshop, i.e. guide it through stages.

Often fun and creative exercise (on top of being demanding, too), a discovery workshop will produce a valuable outcome - a document listing features, target audiences and user journeys for your digital product. It is a systematization of varied input, ideas, suggestions, and needs that are tested against business and user need in the session.

A discovery workshop helps us to:

  • Set the project purpose and goal. It is usually expressed in one clear line or sentence. The group uses it for guidance when in doubt about feature or functionality added to the product.
  • Put everyone in customers’ shoes. A lot of effort goes towards surfacing customer perspectives and expectations and how the digital product should serve them.
  • Define buyer personas.
  • Define priorities based on customer needs and business value.
  • List the features and functionalities of your digital product. This will be the basis for design, development and implementation.
  • Define user journeys.

Sometimes, teams will be surprised by the workshop outcome.

It can be quite different from what they imagined or guessed. Maybe you thought you wanted or needed a particular type of solution, but at the end of the workshop, it can become apparent that you don't need it, and end up with better solutions that will bring the expected business gains.

2. It guides us towards betters outcomes

With many stakeholders involved and client benefits and user journeys to think about, it is reasonable to be wary of fuzzy thinking, unclear deliverables and a badly defined scope of work. If ideas are not articulated right off the bat or given a chance to be surfaced - the project could indeed take an unclear, more dangerous route.

Discovery workshops help us understand ideas, suggestions and expectations. Because we do it in a structured process, we are able to add standardisation which is essential to project scoping, as well as the timeline and costs estimation. It helps us avoid a situation in which we start building (and you paying) for things that will not bring business value or address your customers’ needs.

Also, it enables us to deliver the website, mobile app, or any piece of digital product to your greater satisfaction, because we gain valuable understanding in the process.

Once the workshop is finished and the document compiled, you can use it in several ways. It grants you the start with agile development with your digital product, which is how usually our workshops proceed.

The other less likely scenario is perhaps to test the waters with a smaller-scale project or even take it to a different agency, which is not quite common.

Regardless of what you decide to do next, we believe that time spent in a discovery workshop is time well spent. The document defining your digital project is valuable itself for your organisation, especially if it is on an ongoing digital transformation journey.

3. It is a great exercise in digital

Discovery workshop is an exercise in creativity and business value recognition. There isn’t such a thing as a silly idea in discovery sessions, and everyone is encouraged to participate. Ideas are brought to the table in all shapes and forms, then they are grouped and prioritised by participants themselves, using buyer personas, and customer needs as the criteria.

In our experience, well-led discovery workshops will also highlight inclusion, participation, and multiple perspectives as essential to planning digital projects for organisations. We’ve seen time and again that they will help align stakeholders from different divisions or teams. They will also set the stage for a collaborative way of working and help develop a sense of ownership over the project. Being a part of it from the very start, you are more likely to stay involved and contribute in later stages, too.

Long are gone the days in which software was developed based on a list of requirements, with little room to include ideas and perspectives of those who will use it. The methodology used in discovery workshops addresses exactly that, and It has proven its value on many occasions.

Get in touch with the Infosit crew to talk about User Experience workshops and business opportunities in your organisation!

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If you’re looking for a results-driven, innovative software development partner to help capitalize on new, profitable opportunities, reinvent your brand, or deliver incremental value to your business, we can help.