Beginning a new project can be exciting but also daunting. The devil is in the details, they say. With software development, documenting the technical requirements robustly and comprehensively ahead of time will help the project progress effectively with minimal complications.

Riselabs believe that every project deserves complete and accurate documentation, understanding and review by all parties involved before starting our full design and development process.

How do we do this?

We appreciate that the best ideas do not always come with the best-laid plans, so this is why we have our comprehensive Discovery & Technical Documentation process at the beginning of every project after the initial consultation period.

Who is involved?

To ensure that the resulting document is as accurate and useful as possible, we strive to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the process.

Discovery allows for the sharing of concepts and ambitions with the broader team and facilitates discussion of the project in detail; thus, this creates the opportunity for those of different expertise to gain a better understanding of the project as a whole.

Ideally, the majority of the following people will be involved in this process;

  • Product Manager
  • Tech Architect
  • Project Architect
  • Lead Web Developer
  • Lead App developer
  • Project Manager
  • Lead Designer
  • Product Owner/Product analyst
  • Scrum Master
  • DevOps Manager

With the relevant individuals involved, the ultimate goal of Discovery is to break the project down into its parts;

  • What are the business requirements?
  • What are the user requirements?
  • What are the management requirements?
  • What is the overall vision for the software?
  • What are the functional and technical requirements?
  • What versions are there?
  • What is the budget required?
  • Why this budget?

To gather this vital information, we have the following process;

Discovery Documents

We ask the client to provide us with all ideas and supporting written documentation. We need to know you and what you are thinking to come prepared with the right questions.

Discovery Review

We will then take around a day to review the documentation, create an unknowns list and prepare questions for the first discovery meeting to get to grips with the project.

Discovery Meeting

We like to take our time to ensure we have no loose ends, and this meeting can last a few hours or more, depending on the complexity of the idea. We will explore all aspects of the project, from where the concept has come from its overall business objectives.

Audience Discovery

If required, Riselabs can help user and audience research determine precisely what your customer and users need…

Specification & Lo-fi wireframing

With this body of information, we will take 1 to 4 weeks, depending on complexity, to fully document the project and its requirements, from technical requirements through to lo-fidelity wireframes showing intentions for functionality.

This process takes time, but the result is a fully documented project idea that will allow Riselabs to propose for the project without fear of unknowns and any technical ambiguity, the first step towards a functional app or platform. Think of this as writing the instructions down to your project so that we can confidently assemble it.

Deliverables

This process will result in a comprehensive product plan and roadmap. What’s more, this will include both competitor and target audience analysis, together with user journey and functionality.

The discovery document will also outline a list of milestones and accurate development timeframe, as well as a full write up of software requirements and low fidelity wireframes.

Image showing planning of wireframes and technical documentation

What happens now?

Before we start any code work, we will propose the project entirely based on the discovery phase information. We believe that It is impossible to propose accurately for a project without first going through the Discovery Phase or using client-provided specification documents.

The discovery service takes between a couple of weeks to a few months to conclude. On average, the process costs around £2,000 for a small project, from £8,000 for a medium project, and £10,000+ for a complex project.

Why is there a cost for learning about our project?

On average, to learn about a project and build up the required documentation, the process takes several team members and potentially hundreds of hours and weeks to conclude. Much like paying an architect to create the plans for a new house, we’re unable to provide an estimate or proposal for a project without knowing how many “windows, doors, gardens, bedrooms etc.” the “build” has before we can hand it over to developers.

We also like to see our clients invest in excellent documentation and commit to their project ideas. By charging for our time, we ensure our clients are serious about their project and appreciate our technical skills in creating specifications.

So, what are the benefits of this paid discovery phase?

  • With a complete discovery document, we can fully explore the technology available to meet your needs and business objectives.
  • It ensures comprehensive and accurate estimates for both time and cost and a list of project milestones.
  • Guarantees quality insight into the project’s separate moving parts and requirements and establishes full software requirements specifications.
  • Ultimately, it establishes clear communication between both Riselabs and the client, resulting in beneficial project outcomes.
  • Comprehensive product roadmap.
  • Competitor & target audience analysis.

We are eager to work with you and help you realise your business goals through software, be it a brand new app, a much-needed platform, or an overdue update to legacy systems. We have the experience, knowledge, and professionalism to make your project successful.

Alex

Alex

Alex works with our clients and partners daily, providing one-to-one expertise in support and developer comms. He sees all that happens in Riselabs and has the notes to prove it, so he shares that insight on our blog.