Why Is A Discovery Phase Essential For Project Success

Why Is A Discovery Phase Essential For Project Success?

by MaiTT

The discovery phase of a development project can be likened to the groundwork laid before constructing a building. 

The discovery phase of a development project is an initial stage where the project team, stakeholders, and possibly end-users collaborate to gather information, define goals, outline requirements, and explore potential solutions. This phase is crucial for setting the direction of the project and ensuring that everyone involved has a clear understanding of what needs to be accomplished.

Read more to find out how this phase can benefit your business projects and discover the necessary steps you should take to ensure the discovery process is effective.

The Discovery phase is helpful to:

  • Conduct a thorough analysis of the client’s specific requirements, operational workflow, and existing business system. From this understanding, we will collaborate to translate each requirement into e-commerce functionalities achievable through platforms’ capabilities or compatible extensions/apps.
  • Refine and articulate the requirements with precision and detail.
  • Engage in an in-depth exploration and consultation process to devise comprehensive solutions aligned with the system’s workflow.
  • Develop a meticulous development roadmap encompassing solution strategies, project timelines, and cost estimations for both in-house development efforts and any necessary third-party extensions.
  • Make design decisions based on data, not assumptions
  • Avoid the need for costly changes during advanced stages of the development process

Many projects suffer from inefficient management and unclear objectives because business owners don’t have enough information to support their goals. The best way to avoid this situation is to conduct a project discovery phase.

The Outcome of The Discovery Phase

Requirement Clarification

This involves identifying and documenting the needs and expectations of stakeholders and end-users. It may involve conducting interviews, surveys, workshops, and other methods to gather information.

Business research and Analysis

This includes market research, competitor analysis, technological feasibility studies, and any other relevant research to understand the customer needs and the context in which the project will operate.

Wireframes and System flow development

Exploring potential solutions through the creation of wireframes or proof-of-concept demonstrations to validate ideas and gather feedback.

Objectives and Scope Definition

Defining the project's objectives, encompassing both high-level goals and specific, measurable outcomes, while also establishing clear boundaries, including inclusions and exclusions

Risk Assessment

Identifying potential risks and challenges that could affect the success of the project and developing strategies to mitigate them.

Budget and Timeline Estimation

Providing initial estimates of the resources (time, money, personnel) required to complete the project and developing a rough timeline for its execution.

In essence, the discovery phase is about setting the stage for success. By thoroughly understanding business objectives, engaging stakeholders, defining requirements, and mitigating risks, we lay a solid foundation upon which the rest of the project can be built. This strategic approach not only increases the likelihood of delivering a successful outcome but also ensures that the project delivers tangible value to the business.

Threats You Might Face Without A Discovery Phase

A development project without a Discovery Phase is likened to a building without groundwork. It brings 99.99% of failures /project overruns by facing these risks:

1. Inaccurate scope definition

Without a Discovery Phase, the project’s scope may be poorly defined or subject to frequent changes. This lack of clarity can lead to misunderstandings, scope creep, and difficulties in managing project expectations.

Without a Discovery report as a basis, some agencies may fabricate unnecessary scopes to increase the price of their services.

How does an accurate scope affect the project’s success? According to reports from “The Standish Group’s CHAOS Report” the following factors of the Discovery phase have a significant impact on the success of a project:


Conversely, the absence of the following factors will lead to a high project failure rate:


So it can be seen that the accurate scope comes from the Discovery Phase is a mandatory standard process because it influences 40% of the project’s success and poses a 34.7% risk of project failure if it is not conducted!

2. Climbing costs

As per CBInsights, 29% of the businesses fail the project because they run out of cash. The discovery phase is the part where you need to analyze this aspect to plan your further development process. A poorly defined scope can result in unexpected costs as the project progresses. Without a clear understanding of the requirements, clients may have to allocate additional funds to accommodate changes and unforeseen issues.

On average, projects that do not go through the discovery phase can have a from +-50% permissible error in quotation calculations.

3. Missed Deadlines

Projects without a Discovery Phase are more likely to experience delays due to scope changes, misunderstandings, and the need for additional development time. Meeting project deadlines becomes challenging when requirements are unclear.

4. Quality Reduction and Technical Challenges

A lack of upfront planning and research can lead to rushed development, resulting in a lower-quality website. The final product may not meet the desired standards in terms of functionality, design, and user experience.

  • Incompatible with your internal system
  • Slow speed
  • Bad customer experience
  • Site crash
  • Hidden Bug/Faults
  • Wrong brand guidelines

Without proper discovery and planning, technical challenges may arise during development that were not anticipated. These challenges can lead to unexpected delays and increased development costs.

5. Increased Project Risk

The absence of upfront planning and risk assessment increases the overall project risk. Unforeseen issues or challenges may surface during development, putting the project’s success in jeopardy.


In reality, when you have a solution proposal built on a complete Discovery Report, your error rate and the occurrence of additional costs and time will be extremely low.

6. Post-launch and long-term Issues

Websites developed without proper discovery and planning are more likely to encounter post-launch issues, such as functionality glitches, security vulnerabilities, or user experience problems, which can harm the website’s reputation and user trust.

  • Security Vulnerabilities: A lack of thorough planning and assessment during the Discovery phase might mean that security measures, such as firewalls, encryption, and security patches, are not adequately implemented. This could leave the website vulnerable to cyberattacks which could result in downtime or data breaches post-launch.
  • Technical Bugs and Glitches: Without proper testing and validation of the website’s functionality during the Discovery phase, technical bugs and glitches may go unnoticed until after launch. These issues could cause the website to crash or malfunction, leading to downtime while they are addressed and resolved.
  • Insufficient Backup and Recovery Plans: In the absence of a Discovery phase, backup and disaster recovery plans may not be adequately developed or tested. As a result, if unexpected issues arise post-launch, such as data corruption or server failures, there may be delays in restoring the website, resulting in downtime for users.
  • Lack of Monitoring and Maintenance: Without a Discovery phase to establish monitoring protocols and ongoing maintenance plans, potential issues that arise after launch may not be promptly detected or addressed. This could lead to prolonged downtime or recurring outages due to unresolved technical issues.
Red Alert !!!

Exercise caution when dealing with solution providers who bypass the Discovery phase and offer quotes solely based on client requirements. There are two potential scenarios to consider:

Scenario 1:

It’s important to understand that the Discovery step is an essential part of the development process, and all solution providers will inevitably need to undergo it. Solution providers who offer quotes based solely on requirements and experience can typically only provide estimates with an error margin of up to +-50% (often leaning towards +50%). Such quotes carry a high degree of uncertainty, making it challenging to predict potential discrepancies later on.

Scenario 2:

To be candid, some providers may inflate prices for clients unfamiliar with the development process or technology. Engaging with these solution providers poses the risk of encountering additional costs, delays, and potential compromises in project quality down the line.

How Does The Discovery Phase Help Businesses Conduct A Successful Project?

Every business thrives to optimize the project’s success by saving project costs, securing timelines, and optimizing project quality. And here’s how the Discovery Phase helps businesses to reach that vision:

1. Preventing Scope Creep

During the Discovery phase, project requirements are thoroughly analyzed, and the scope of work is clearly defined. By establishing a solid understanding of what needs to be delivered upfront, businesses can prevent scope creep—uncontrolled expansion of project scope—which often leads to additional costs and timeline extensions.

2. Early Issue Identification and Mitigation

Through comprehensive research, requirement gathering, and risk analysis, potential issues and challenges are identified early in the process. By addressing these issues proactively during the Discovery phase, businesses can prevent costly rework, delays, and budget overruns that may arise from addressing issues later in the project lifecycle.

3. Efficient Resource Allocation

The Discovery phase enables businesses to plan and allocate resources more efficiently. By accurately estimating the required resources—such as personnel, technology, and budget—upfront, businesses can avoid over-allocation or under-allocated resources, thereby optimizing resource utilization and minimizing unnecessary costs.

4. Reducing Rework and Iterations

Wireframes and System flow development activities conducted during the Discovery phase allow businesses to validate assumptions, test ideas, and gather feedback early in the process. By iterating on designs and solutions before full-scale development begins, businesses can identify and address potential issues or requirement changes early, reducing the need for costly rework or iterations later in the project lifecycle.

5. Proactive Risk Management

The Discovery phase enables businesses to identify and assess potential risks early on. By developing proactive risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans during the Discovery phase, businesses can reduce the likelihood of risks materializing and mitigate their potential impact on project cost and timeline.

Advanced Discovery Process By BSS Commerce

The Discovery process is specially designed by BSS Commerce to ensure an understanding of the business’s requirements and needs.

1-1 meeting to interview and investigate your Requirements & Objectives

Starting the Discovery phase, we will conduct a 1-1 meeting including the whole development team and customers to define the project’s goals and objectives. This ensures that everyone has a shared understanding of what the website should achieve

Discovery Report with Advanced solutions designed by experienced experts

After analyzing your business as well as the market, your solution will be designed by our experts, who have 11+ years of experience in eCommerce development, to ensure the competitive key metrics of your eCommerce website: Integrated System; Optimal speed, optimal check-out page, UX UI; Outstanding customer experience; Stable Site in high-traffic season; No hidden bug or fault possibilities; Suggest the most efficient 3rd module based on the customers’ requirements…

1-1 meeting for solution explanation and demo

In this phase, we will conduct a 1-1 meeting between Project Manager, Development team and customer to explain and present the Discovery Report and the Advanced Solution to make sure you have the most comprehensive understanding about our solution. Additionally, we will have a demo session to help you start-with-the-end-in-mind, have a clear visualization of how the project will exactly look like after going-live.

Workable quotation and timeline estimation

Align with Discovery Report, we will provide a more accurate quotation and timeline estimation that help you have a clear vision of the project’s milestones and phases.

Budget and Timeline For The Discovery Phase?

1. Budget

The budget for the Discovery phase can vary significantly depending on factors such as the complexity of the project, the size of the organization, the industry, and the specific objectives of the project. Generally in the market, the discovery phase may cost about $5,000 – $15,000 and take up to 10 – 40% of the total project budget.


However, at BSS Commerce, our Discovery Phase will cost only one-third compared to the market, we have that competitive advantage due to these factors:

  • No hidden costs or climbing costs: By conducting the Discovery phase professionally from the outset, we commit to not inflating the discovery cost into the overall project expenses, introducing unnecessary solutions, or incurring additional costs during the implementation phase.
  • We have 11+ years of experience in the eCommerce market, so we have wide-n-deep knowledge in various fields to detect the best and most optimized solution for your business.
  • With that market knowledge, long years of experience, our experience in thousands of projects, and our expert level, we package BSS Commerce’s services into Professional Solution Packages that can cover almost all your requirements and expectations.
  • We develop services and products (apps, extensions, themes, etc.) at the same time, and we have a wide partnership circle so that we can find the most optimal solution at the most reasonable cost.
  • We always go straight to the point to build a solution that is spot-on to your requirements without making up anything to help our customers have the best solution with the most optimal cost
2. Timeline

BSS Commerce takes pride in being one of the leading entities in delivering the Discovery Phase within the most optimal time frame (2 weeks – 4 weeks), and this timeline of BSS Commerce is also one of the most competitive timelines in the market, driven by our distinctiveness in:

International Standard Processes

With over 11+ years of experience and thousands of successfully executed projects, we have developed an internationally standardized Discovery process that optimizes time for our clients.

Our team of experts

The Discovery phase is conducted by top-tier specialists who collaborate seamlessly in both expertise and responsibility, ensuring the utmost time efficiency for our clients.

How Do You Derive Value From Our Service?

Yes, in some cases the project discovery phase may seem time-consuming and resource-intensive, but the point is, what you need to do is to make sure your investment is efficient and will bring back the highest ROI. You can opt for a lower initial quote only to witness costs climbing, deadline missed and project efficiency plummeting, or you can select a transparent quote from the outset and seamlessly sail through the project with confidence.

At BSS Commerce, we can confidently say that we can make your investment worthwhile and meaningful based on our differences that you cannot find anywhere else:

  • Strong market understanding and business acumen: with 11+ years of experience implementing thousands of projects for renowned brands from 150+ countries in the world, we have strong experience, market understanding, and business knowledge in different markets and business models that can help you build the best and most optimal eCommerce solution.
  • Comprehensive service at a one-stop destination: We are one of the very rare agencies in the world that provide comprehensive eCommerce services and products including Development and Maintenance services, POS Solution, Mobile App Development, Apps and Extension providing – which means we confidently say we have a thorough expertise in eCommerce field and strong ability to cover most of your requirements with the least amount of third-party involvement.
  • Top-notch experts:  We have 2 out of 38 Magento Maintainers in the world—the highest level a Magento developer can achieve. We also have an “ultimate” tester team that is certified as an “ISTQB Platinum Partner” – the highest level of testing ability that a development agency can achieve nationally.
  • Extensive partnership system: We have a wide collaboration system with hundreds of reputable partners in the world who have expertise in diverse solutions from CRM, and CDP to Marketing, Payment, Shipping, etc. We can cover all your needs related to eCommerce and beyond.
  • Dedication: Dedication is the outstanding value that makes thousands of customers in the world trust us, and we proudly have a 90% return customer rate. With time-zone flexibility, we can meet urgent requirements with quick deliverables as well.
  • No added cost or timeline overruns: At BSS Commerce, we are committed to our Integrity value. Once you have agreed on the scope, price, and timeline, you can rest assured that no variables will change, or the rate of change will be very small, and it will always be updated for you.

Want to receive our Discovery Report with Advanced Solution?

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