There are a lot of products that failed when they were already on the market. Imagine how much money and time you could save if you initially define the application’s primary purpose and the problem it solves.

This is why it is crucial to answering the question, “Are we doing something that our customers will want and need?” And this is why we need discovery workshops for a successful software development project.

Working through project discovery is by no means easy. Teams have to overcome a lot of uncertainty while staying on top of all information they gather and collect along the way. So the question is, how can you bring structure to this chaos?

This blog post will guide you on navigating and bringing structure and clarity to your next Product Discovery Workshop. 

What is a discovery workshop?

A discovery workshop is a specific activity of the discovery phase that aims to put critical stakeholders together to discuss an idea and define the project requirements, objectives and expected outcomes. Successful workshops focus on understanding customer processes, outline all the crucial elements, challenges, goals and give you tangible deliverables at the end.

The discovery workshop process reduces uncertainty around a problem and idea and ensures that the right product gets built for the right audience. In other words, it is a game-changing factor letting us make smarter decisions faster and discover all the features your digital product needs to be a success.

“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” ― Albert Einstein

This is the recipe: Find the right problem. Then find the right solution. 

One of the main questions is what problem has to be solved.

“Building the right thing” means understanding the problem and mitigating the biases. Solutions always have to fit the specific problem and get the optimal outcome.

When looking at the budget available for a discovery workshop, make sure that most of your activities are centered around the problem instead of searching for featured solutions. 

When working on a more complex system, a discovery workshop can take up to a week. In contrast, simpler systems require only a few hours. It all depends on the project, but discovery workshops usually last one to two weeks.

What happens in the discovery workshop process?

Your project doesn’t have to be and feel complicated. Our well-experienced and customer-oriented approach to running workshops and its discovery phase ensures projects get off to a solid start. Here are practical insights on how we do it at Async Labs.

Discovery workshop

After the cooperation agreement, we set up a discovery workshop with our client. We meet with all stakeholders during the workshop, engage in customer-centric strategies, and gather all the necessary information about the business in general and the project.

Face-to-face interaction between our and client’s team

For a more successful project and more efficient work, it is necessary to meet in person or by video call and answer essential questions in real-time. The crucial questions to ask a client are: What is your target audience and market? What is your vision? Where do you want to be in five years? The client needs to consider the product to get a bigger picture. The right set of questions are essential to understand the direction the client wants to go with the app. Also, it leaves no scope for assumptions or disagreements. 

Building a relationship with our client

Establishing the right attitude and learning to work with each other is integral to each project’s success. It is important to remain honest, open, and respectful of everyone’s thoughts and ideas. We are all on the same team, working on the same goals.

Discovery phase

The Discovery phase is an essential step in the planning phase of developing and building a new digital product. It is an initial interaction that brings together the client and the project team. The Discovery phase is an opportunity for all parties involved to develop a detailed strategy for product development. When speaking of a new product or developing an existing one, we consider the product discovery phase crucial. 

Collaboration and defining project requirements

In the beginning, we get a rough description of what the client wants and we solve it piece by piece. Then we collect as much relevant information as possible from the client and give advice and feedback on whether something is feasible. Now we start designing the application itself. Once we have gathered all the necessary information, it is time for the designer to make a sitemap of the application with the required sections. 

Based on the collected data, we prepare documentation, compile a conceptual proposal for the vision of the application and our work process, and present it to the client. After receiving feedback from the client, we make necessary changes, update the wireframes and the complete documentation. Discussing features and creating wireframes is an essential part of every discovery workshop.

Sharing data

The discovery workshop results in a document covering all the main issues, from the app’s idea and description, the main functionalities, advantages and elaboration of each phase and the like. We condense all workshop activities into a handy white label document that the client can refer back to.

After the discovery process, you are free to develop your project in another company; you are not strictly bound to us. At Async Labs, we offer product discovery workshops as a stand-alone service.

For example, you may not have enough budget to continue developing a project after discovery workshops, or maybe you will give up on an idea for a while. The document you receive will allow any development company (including us, of course) to start actively working on your product. 

Discovery workshops are a planned approach and most project managers would agree that they should be applied to each project.

Why is product discovery important? 

We can compare discovery workshops to a fine art. Imagine you are standing in front of a beautiful piece of artwork – a painted landscape. As you enjoy the view and imagine you are there, think about the time, tools, knowledge and skills needed to create this art. The same thing is with discovery workshops.

The Discovery workshop aims to define as many details as possible. This is important to precisely determine the project’s scope and the software that the client needs. They are held to reach the best possible specifications for the development team and the client.

During these workshops, the team tries to understand what the client wants and clarify the vision. Workshops help define details to make the most accurate assessment and know how to plan application development.

Discovery workshops provide a collaborative context where ideas and decisions are made and shared. They inspire and allow different stakeholders to offer their unique perspectives. 

Taking part in a discovery workshop brings many benefits to you and your future product. 

Main benefits of product discovery workshops

Reduces the overall cost

The Discovery workshop aims to create a list of necessary features and functionalities and eliminate unplanned expenses. And if you think discovery workshops are an additional, unnecessary expense, try to estimate the cost of insufficient preparation.

Speeds up the production process

A few days spent on the workshop will help you create a detailed plan and fully understand the product requirements and save you time later in the process.

It brings a detailed plan with a structured timeline

The better the project is initially specified, the easier it is to make a development plan and create resources more reliably.

Delivers a better product

Planning your activities helps in delivering a better project. A product discovery workshop gives you space and time to think about what you need to build and why.

Reduce unpleasant surprises

Discovery workshops ensure that everyone knows what their tasks are and what the ultimate goal is. That means less misunderstanding when the project starts.

It helps the team to grow

When working together, we all benefit from each other’s expertise, learn more about our roles and appreciate everyone’s contribution. 

As you can see, there are many reasons why we love using workshops. Don’t just trust us on a word; try it for yourself!

“How do I run a product discovery workshop?”

Discovery workshop ensures smoothness in project implementation and helps increase the chances of conversions. 

To clear things out, you can build incredible products without product discovery workshops. But a discovery workshop will surely help you capture invaluable information that will run product development more effectively, reduce cost, risk and timelines.

In the end, it will help you build a better product for your end-users. And making something your audience wants is the most important thing to achieve business goals. 

Now when you know how the discovery process works, feel free to get in touch to find out whether a discovery workshop could help kick-start your next digital project. Build fresh insights and make smarter decisions with our facilitated discovery workshop process!

What else is there to think about and define when kicking off the project discovery workshop? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any more tips or bits of advice. Please share them in the comments below.