Smart decisions about your business start with a discovery workshop. Whether you’re approaching a project as an agency or a client, holding your own workshop could provide extra insight and keep you focused on your project goals.
Discovery workshops are a collaboration between teams to help collect information required to begin a project.
They’re like a funnel – all team members move from larger abstract concepts (‘everything is possible!’) to a more realistic and concrete view of what’s relevant and achievable for the business.
Why are discovery workshops useful?
Discovery workshops are invaluable to businesses. Whether yours is a startup at the ideas stage or well-established and planning a new project, discovery workshops make sure everyone involved is asking the right questions.
It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of one particular area. Discovery workshops shift the focus to looking at the project in its entirety and ensure questions about business objectives, user experience, creative and technicalities are covered.
We consider the discovery phase of our projects to be the most important. Workshops help us:
Minimise the risk of building the wrong thing
Revisiting the problem we’re trying to solve and interrogating the reasoning behind our decisions makes for a stronger, less buggy build.
Include representatives from every speciality
Founders, UX experts, designers, developers and QA teams come together to solve problems in a workshop. Everyone has a chance to weigh in from different perspectives and everyone feels more engaged with the business and product as a result.
Eliminate (or at least reduce) surprises
Discovery workshops ensure everyone is on the same page as to what needs to be achieved and why. This means fewer misunderstandings when the project gets underway.
Grow as a team
When we do this work together we all benefit from learning more about what each other’s roles entail, and can appreciate the expertise we each bring to the table.
What does a discovery workshop involve?
We always begin a project with discovery collaboration between our team and the clients’. Although each business is different, our well-practised approach to running workshops ensures projects get off to a solid start.
Once a project kicks off, it can sometimes be difficult to get hold of different stakeholders when needed. Having face time upfront to ask and answer questions puts us in a much better starting place. We encourage client team members to initially pop into the office for half a day to collaborate face-to-face. As we have clients all around the world, meeting in person isn’t always the most practical solution – so we offer discovery workshops by video call too.
Establishing ground rules
It’s during these discovery workshops that we start to build a relationship with our clients. Learning to work with each other and establishing a good attitude is integral to each project’s success. We value being open, honest and respectful of everyone’s thoughts and ideas – it’s important to remember that everyone is on the same team.
Discovery workshops are often used to define project requirements. While that should be the ultimate goal, we should make sure to build an understanding of the project’s background first. What are the client’s objectives? What are they trying to achieve and why? This is also the time to familiarise ourselves with the existing website or app (if there is one).
We then focus on discussing the project as a whole, exploring whether there are any possible pitfalls and what the solutions could be. We establish an understanding of what the client considers a successful outcome. Being able to have this dialogue with stakeholders and understand what key performance indicators they are targeting helps us scope and estimate more accurately.
Finally, we review user flows, epics and features, and begin drawing up a high-level launch plan.
Packaging and sharing data
After a discovery workshop, we always have a wonderfully messy pile of data to work through. The next step is to condense all workshop activities into a handy white label document that the client can refer back to. It details the core objectives and features that we can help them achieve. We also attach deadlines and milestones based on data gathered during the workshop.
And that’s it! Client or creator, discovery workshops are a useful extra step in your project planning. They can help you build bonds and grow understanding with your collaborators. They’re a little bit of initial effort that can make a project flow more smoothly.
Let’s discover together
There is an art to discovery workshops. Whether you’re harbouring a great idea or already have a business that needs expanding, we can explore your options together.
Get in touch to find out how we can support your next digital project.