Software development workshops or discovery workshops: start your cooperation with the product development team to achieve your business goals.
And to be fair, mobile app development process can be disorienting, especially, if you’re taking part in such a project for the first time. To fully understand this process and set your major objectives, you might want to join the Score's blogpost series on software development workshops. In our last article, we have gathered 5 essential tips that will help you succeed during your workshop phase.
In this part, we focus on the workshop phase itself. We try to answer what exactly is a software development workshop and why is it essential for the future of your project. We’ll also provide you with three ground elements that you should include in your software engineering workshop.
What Is a Design Workshop Phase?
When you approach us to create a great mobile application together, one of the earliest steps we’ll take is hosting a software development workshop, also known in the industry as a discovery workshop. Why do we do that? From our experience at Score, a workshop allows us to discuss your product vision, development process, user experience goals, budget, and workflow. In the workshop phase, we focus on all important aspects of the project, starting from gathering your requirements, and we agree on the deliverables. We can introduce you to the development team members, like the project manager or lead developer, and discuss the project with a business analyst.
At this time, we also define functional specifications, such as the tech stack or the end-user platform. At the end of the discovery phase, you should have a solid project plan which can be implemented to achieve an MVP. Of course, the type of generated output will vary depending on the type of the project and its goals, but regardless of these, there are practices that we apply to any workshop session.
3 Basics Of Product Development Workshop
Discuss the Format Of the Discovery Workshop Session
There are two ways to conduct discovery workshops. First, if there is a great distance between the vendor and the team members, both parties will probably agree to hold a remote session. Unexpected circumstances (like the pandemic) could be other incentives to run workshops remotely. What you should take into consideration is that discovery sessions are very demandin:. each of the participants needs to be highly focused and have tons of creative energy. That is why online sessions turn out better if divided into several days. This allows you to maintain a healthy working environment and, contrary to a popular belief, maximize productivity.
A second way to conduct product development workshops is on-site, usually in the software house’s offices. As long as the circumstances allow you as a stakeholder to participate in on-site workshops, don't hesitate even for a minute. Working hand in hand with your partner for the first time gives you an enormous chance to experience the company culture and observe their commitment to your development project.
The Secret Of Your Success Depends On Your (Daily) Agenda
This quote by John C. Maxwell, a famous speaker, and motivation coach, is just the greatest introduction to this part of the article. Just like you need your daily agenda to optimize your time and resources, you need a bigger picture (a roadmap) of your project to guide you through the process and allow you to better understand which stage are you in, see a potential backlog and catch a glimpse of what has already been accomplished.
The agenda should be ready before the actual workshop begins. It should be clear for you, and it should include all events that are going to take place. Do not hesitate to comment or ask questions if anything seems confusing to you.
Tools to Use During the Product Discovery Phase
There are no rules regarding specific tools companies should use for the workshops. But a rule certainly that you need to agree on the tools you are going to use. For instance, you should discuss:
1. A space to store all the files to ensure that everyone has access to the same version of a particular document
2. The tool for mind-mapping sessions and exercises, like Miro, Lucidspark, or Mural
3. Tools used for UX/UI, like Figma, Adobe CX, Sketch.
The set of tools- that you are going to use depends on the starting point, or in other words on the different business cases. Let's have a look at five typical business cases for software development projects:
- Developing a new app
- Migration / re-platforming
- Development of new features for existing products
For re-factoring an existing product or fixing its bugs, you most likely won’t need visual tools, but you might consider a well-thought, mighty space for file sharing and storage, whereas any workshop that involves developing an entire app, a feature, or a platform, will benefit from UX/UI and mind-mapping tools, or even an old-school whiteboard and a set of sticky notes.
How do we know all this? The strategy introduced to you in this article is the result of our experience and consultations with our own clients. Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way to conduct software development workshops – a key stage to any new project with any business partner – is to set the stage first. Settle on a where, when, and how you’ll conduct your discovery phase, and you’ll have a great start to your project.
In the next article, we are going to discuss the matter of people involved in the workshop phase. Stay tuned or even better – sign up for our newsletter to not miss the next article release.