Worthwhile begins our project engagements with existing businesses and startups in the same way: With a workshop.
The workshop is the key step in the discovery process we use at Worthwhile. During this discovery phase, we examine the business and market situation our clients are in, and envision a custom web or mobile application that will help the business succeed.
Over and over again, we’ve seen how taking time for discovery leads to a better project in the end. That’s why we don’t proceed with a project until our team is satisfied that we have examined the information we need to envision a profitable solution.
The team leading your company through a discovery process should have open, curious minds and focused goals. Here are the goals Worthwhile has during the discovery phase:
Understand your business
Any web or mobile application your company implements should match your company goals. So it makes sense that a software partner needs to connect the web or mobile application they build to your specific business situation and needs.
In our discovery workshops, we use proven exercises to get the basics of our client’s business: Future goals, unmovable constraints, profit centers, and brand identity.
We don’t ask these questions to be business consultants. We do it to make sure we understand the landscape a business operates in, so we can build a web or mobile application that will thrive in that landscape.
After the workshop, we create a project plan including wireframes and a fixed-cost estimate. As our creative and development teams create this project plan, we constantly evaluate it in light of a key question: How does this serve the business goals?
Every idea needs to answer that question strategically.
By starting here, we can create web and local applications that fit our clients like a glove. The workshop allows us to receive comments like these recent pieces of customer feedback:
- “It’s amazing how they understood my brand and got it right!”
- “The discovery process on the front end was very good and impressed me. It drew out not only what we said, but what we thought.”
Understand your users
It’s crucial for a web or mobile application to match your business goals, and just as crucial for it to fit your users.
It’s obviously critical to fit your external users (aka your customers), but it’s just as important for your app to fit your internal users (employees). Success with both of these kinds of users can drive profit, whether through sales (external) or through efficiency (internal).
Our discovery process starts by identifying the various audiences who your web or mobile application needs to serve. Then, after the workshop, Worthwhile will often conduct some market research to advance our understanding of these users.
Worthwhile also stays current with user experience trends, both in general and in your industry, to make sure you can meet and exceed user expectations with your app by delivering an intuitive and delightful experience.
These user experience trends change frequently. For example, the scrolling users do on smartphones has made them more eager to scroll instead of click on desktops as well as mobile devices. New technologies like the Apple Watch are likely to further transform user desires.
During the discovery phase, we also ensure that we understand the breadth of how your business relates to users in the customer life cycle, so we can understand what parts of that process your web or mobile application needs to automate or expedite.
This is especially important for startups. Often, our team’s questions help a startup crystalize user experience outside of an app, as well as inside it.
A recent startup client who went through a workshop discovery told us:
- “Your attention to detail was impressive, and it makes me confident that I made the right decision in choosing Worthwhile.”
Plan for the future
Worthwhile uses the discovery process to clarify what our clients need to build now. One of the key deliverables, especially for startups, is a recommendation on what features and functionality need to be included in a minimum viable product.
We also ask questions and lead discussions intended to ensure that what we build is scalable for the future. This is something a trusted software partner must do for a client.
We ask questions like:
- Is your business going to add a new product line in the future?
- Are new locations planned?
- Do you hope to engage a new kind of customer in the future?
- How do you plan to roll out this product?
- Do you have an exit plan for your startup?
- What will your employee base look like five years from now?
While the answers to these questions may not affect the user experience for phase one, they can impact development specifications, such as how the back-end database is set up. This can save you money in future development as your business expands and changes and as your app grows with you.
Knowing about business goals also allows us to collaborate with our clients. We can discuss ideas about features and functionality based on our shared knowledge of your market landscape, instead of personal preferences.
A discovery phase is a crucial first step to a successful web or mobile application build. If you need help understanding your business, understanding your users, and planning for the future, then you need a software partner like Worthwhile.