Published on Monday, 18 Jul, 2016
I’m a huge fan of collaborative Discovery phases being a vital first part of project processes in whatever form is most appropriate, but whilst many see this as the first step on the road ahead, very often there’s an important predecessor – feasibility sense-checking whatever will be on your radar.
This year I was involved in something that I’d never quite done before – a ‘pre-disovery-discovery’, or ‘pre-discovery’ for short. The full discovery phases were to be extensive as the landscape was extremely complex and it was known that it would require some extremely thorough research and prototyping. Before that body of work kicked off, the client wanted to undertake this mini phase, to make sure that efforts were focused and prioritised in the right areas, but it also turns out that there was also another benefit – identifying commonalities and shared functionality between streams that were previously being investigated separately, so that the further investigation could be better aligned with reality.
The sense check here not only saved time by making discoveries about the state of the landscape before everyone had put together big plans and dived fully into the details; it also validated whether the bigger Discovery piece should or shouldn’t go ahead, and what should be prioritised. Now, my project was a bit of an anomaly because of the complexities and overlaps, and usually you likely won’t require a separate ‘pre-discovery’ activity, however it’s important to perform some degree of feasibility sense-check. This can be internal – to make sure that a project is good to go, or can be done as an external party before you dive in – to make sure everything is as expected, everyone’s on the same page, and that important aspects have been considered before the main project kicks off.
Projects are often pushed forward for the wrong reasons, and whilst Discovery itself is often used to validate continuing, entering into it with a clear vision, plan, and a view of some goals is extremely important.
However you do it, next time you’re thinking about kicking off a new digital project, check to see whether the following have a been considered:
Basically: what are you doing, why, and who’s helping. Got all of that? Great! My experience is that by thinking through all of this you’ll probably save yourself time as a project team, and make sure that there are no unexpected surprises that come out of the woodwork… at least not in the kick-off meeting!
Back in time:
Monthly round-up: June 2016
Forward in time:
Monthly round-up: July 2016
Sally is the lead consultant and founder of Records Sound the Same, helping people with digital transformation. She's also a speaker, coder, gamer, author, and jasmine tea fiend.