Have you ever heard the phrase “think from the end?” It was something an old boss of mine used to always say. The phrase stuck with me through the years and is so applicable to web projects. When you initiate a web project, you have to really understand what you are looking to achieve — what is the ideal end result? Determining what that looks like helps guide you in what cocktail of technologies and what type of team will get you to that ideal end point. That is why we feel it is so important to invest in discovery — doing the detective work to piece together your organization’s project goals and requirements.
What is the Process of Discovery?
Whether a project requires a Drupal or WordPress upgrade, migration, redesign or a whole new build, there are many questions that need to be answered. The process of discovery is usually initiated with a project kickoff meeting to get to know the people involved in the project, the goals and decision making process at a high level.
From there, discovery can be a two pronged approach — there’s technical discovery and design discovery.
Engineers will review the project requirements and match them with the best technologies to meet those requirements. Some web development agencies have preferred technologies, but we have found that certain technologies fit certain projects. Drupal tends to be our go-to for larger scale enterprise sites but sometimes WordPress is the right choice with certain plugins or themes that work better for a project. All of these things are fleshed out in the technical discovery process.
The deliverable usually includes a technical plan that outlines the proposed technologies, how they will be implemented, what they will do and the costs associated like renewals and subscription fees.
This process explores the sales and marketing goals of the website. Existing branding assets are inventoried, audiences are defined through buyer personas, calls to action are developed and color, fonts, imagery and design aesthetics are iterated upon and reviewed and feedback is captured. Site architecture and an initial content inventory can also be part of this process with the final deliverables being mood boards, site maps and initial prototypes.
The Benefits of Discovery
Discovery sets a solid foundation for project success. Many organizations may decide to contract an agency to conduct discovery before even putting out an RFP. This helps ensure that firms submitting proposals are matching the project guidelines. It allows all parties to have a clear understanding of how this project should move forward and sets expectations for the end result. Therefore, everyone is thinking from the end. That is the beauty of a well executed discovery process.
Are you in the planning stages of a website project? Let’s chat about laying the groundwork for successful project results.