Optimizing fintech innovation: navigating the discovery phase for digital financial products

Optimizing fintech innovation: navigating the discovery phase for digital financial products

Missed deadlines, ever-increasing costs, disappointment, and constant scope of work creep — these and other issues will trouble your team unless you implement the best practices of discovery phase services. This stage is demanding and requires a lot of effort, expertise, and resources to be done correctly. Nevertheless, its results are too good to miss them.

If you wonder how to start the discovery phase for your project and why its role shouldn’t be underestimated, you have come to the right place. In this ultimate guide, let’s take a closer look at how project managers, business analysts, and software engineers can make magic happen. A professional discovery phase team can certainly lead your business to the desired brand awareness and ROIs after the project’s deployment in the market. Mind the gap!

Discovery phase service peculiarities

According to the Project Management Institute survey, the percentage of software development projects with delayed releases and breached deadlines reached 45%, while budget overruns were a challenge for over 35% of IT projects. Statistics about the startup success rate aren’t promising either — 90% of the current ideas fail sooner or later.

The discovery phase is a functional part of a sound project development and marketing strategy. However, several beginners and experienced players in the industry rely on their luck and knowledge to get things done correctly without preparation. Solving arising problems on the go might bring more losses than benefits, especially given the risk of never-ending budget expansions, technical issues, etc.

With the help of the findings and decisions made during the discovery phase, businesses of any scale can present the proper product-market fit and back up their effort with plan B ideas.

In a nutshell, the discovery phase processes boil down to:

  • estimating business resources and identifying project goals;
  • market research to define the field’s competitiveness and special requirements to simplify the entry;
  • user research to present a customer-oriented IT product, satisfying their needs from short-term and long-term perspectives;
  • considering the right set of functions and interface peculiarities — everything to cater to the latest standards in the industry, audience’s expectations, and market requirements;
  • presenting the research results in a documented and easily accessible format;
  • building a roadmap, taking into account the ideal customer journey to increase click-through rates and reduce bouncing;
  • preparing wireframes for the target IT product’s development strategy;
  • verifying the nuances and finalizing the final scope of work;
  • getting started with realizing milestones of the discovery phase in further stages of the software development cycle.

What if you skip the discovery phase?

While software projects are becoming far more data-intensive, knowledge-oriented, and complicated, numerous teams still underestimate the power of proper requirement identification, assessment, and implementation. Discovery phase services serve to define the scope of work — the core behind any project’s success.

If you omit this stage and rely on the here-and-now decisions of your team, you risk suffering from these consequences, no matter the effort:

  • A poor understanding of what needs to be done leads to the wrong selection of tools and techniques to create the target IT product. The technology stack is then incapable of satisfying your goals and will compromise the system’s architectural clarity, scalability, and security potential.
  • Once you discuss your vision with the discovery team, it is easier to establish a product’s roadmap and work on the features and performances to boost the project’s feasibility after release.
  • One of the crucial deliverables of the discovery phase is a minimum viable product. MVP development services come in handy to visualize the results of market and competitor research and see whether the plans for the UI/UX design will work in reality as prescribed.
  • Last but not least, the goal of the delivery phase lies in improving the cooperation and interaction between all the involved parties. In-depth negotiations and regular communication will save your budget from overruns and let you control the project’s execution. It is a perfect tool to build trust and establish authority in the team.

Teamwork: who makes the project’s discovery phase happen?

Given how crucial this stage is for guaranteeing alignment with the goals and vision of the final product, that’s not something a tech-savvy individual can do without third-party assistance. Data collection and analysis are two cores of the discovery process and require in-depth knowledge to design and construct an IT product tailored to your business goals, audience interests, and so on.

The composition of the staff to fulfill discovery phase tasks varies, depending on the project type, scope of work, business model, and other parameters. Before setting a problem to solve by creating a custom mobile application, software, or website, take your time to ensure you have enough human resources to assign all the responsibilities for a successful project’s completion — from market research to MVP development.

Ideal discovery team for your business

In the best-case scenario, the process involves the expertise of such team members as:

  • Business analysts — the main reason why large teams can remain on the same page since they organize documents and files to pursue the project’s primary objectives.
  • Mobile leads — they ensure the product's high-profile features are well-thought-out and tailored to the agile delivery methodology.
  • UI/UX design specialists — market and consumer research here results in a customer-oriented and data-driven interface of the minimum viable product and its future full-service version. These specialists prepare the UI kit and help define the project’s sufficient deadlines. 
  • SRE specialists — they will provide an out-of-the-team perspective of all the discovery phase processes, ensuring robust communication between departments. By sharing accountability for applications and software in production, they increase the overall reliability of the product.
  • DevOps specialists — aside from locating and correcting technical errors, these professionals also help designers and engineers provide the right functions and integrations to cater to customers’ expectations.
  • QA engineers — they are responsible for creating a test strategy for the final product — everything to ensure any potential imperfections are detected and fixed early.
  • Project managers — if you want to unite different tasks and responsibilities under the same roof, that’s the task for project managers. These experts consider the expertise of individual members of the team and take the most out of their strengths.

With the help of a professional MVP development company, interested parties can skip a recruiting stage and get a ready-made solution — no need to work on creating a discovery team from scratch. Thanks to this format of outsourcing, it is possible to qualitatively allocate resources to your in-house employees and avoid doubling their load.

Choosing a third-party discovery team

Finding a business that can carry out an IT product development project meticulously and competently pays off when its representatives take into account even the smallest details of a future software solution. That’s why a harmony between technical know-how and creative management tactics matters:

  • Creating an efficient and reliable product depends on how straightforward you are in conveying your ideas. Third-party professionals won’t be able to read your mind — several negotiations will take place. Overall, a typical discovery phase duration is not less than a month.
  • Consider the target service provider’s tool stack. Although novice users treat this phase as a theory-based one, it is quite the contrary. Without the right technologies and tools, it will be challenging to define what options will lead to cost-efficient performance strategies. Besides, any estimates have to be precise — the outcome will be more accurate if the team involved coordinates the project-related processes from scratch to hatch.
  • During the negotiations, check whether the target company is passionate and enthusiastic about contributing to the project’s success. Feel free to request a portfolio of their works to see whether their expertise can be tailored to your vision and needs.

The benefits of the discovery phase for establishing new it products

Any discovery phase and MVP development services have one goal in mind — setting realistic expectations prior to taking things seriously and investing thousands of dollars in the target system’s production. Ideally, businesses design such projects to be beneficial for their own growth and customers as well.

To start with, the role of the discovery phase in the software development cycle is simple — to minimize the risks and boost a team’s awareness of prospective issues and pitfalls along the way:

  • unscoped tasks and responsibilities, which might damage the project’s efficiency and postpone the deployment in the long run;
  • poor quality of the UI/UX design that doesn’t match the audience’s search requests;
  • endless expansions of the budget to cover the things that weren’t considered in the preparation stage;
  • missing the right moment to enter the market and increasing the likelihood of competitors occupying the spot you wanted to gain.

Naturally, aside from risk assessment and management, professional discovery phase services result in:

  • higher ROI rates;
  • reducing the probability of bounce since the provided interface satisfies end-user needs;
  • better vision of the product;
  • preparing a dynamic, entertaining, and smooth user experience;
  • solving issues at the early stages of software development;
  • implementing the best data privacy and security standards from the very beginning;
  • making data-empowered decisions and avoiding the negative impact of unproven assumptions;
  • planning according to accurate data analysis reports and project scope estimates.

Dos and don’ts for the successful discovery phase process

Some crucial aspects to take into account when estimating the scope of the project and the variety of discovery phase requirements include:

  • Technical advancements come hand in hand with proper project management techniques. Otherwise, it would be Mission Impossible to assess the cost of creating and deploying the desired IT product. In turn, the lack of attention to detail and precision will lead to unachievable ROIs and sales in light of such circumstances. Outline what resources you have and will require to complete a budgeting draft.
  • Risk mitigation starts with identifying prospective challenges and constraints. Assuming the project’s flow will be flawless is a highway to harming its results more in emergency cases. The discovery phase is a perfect opportunity to think about a plan B.
  • With the overall vision of the final product in mind, dive deeper into its specifics — think about what deliverables you want to achieve. Please make these goals measurable and easy to track.
  • Of course, determining all the parties involved matters. This way, you will be able to avoid security issues and keep things under control. By identifying stakeholder personas in advance, you can coordinate the discovery phase processes and responsibilities in the best way possible.


While some believe that the discovery phase is an insufficient software development stage, it is quite the contrary in practice. Instead of adding unnecessary complexity to the cycle, it is a major element of its reliability and performance. 

It won’t be wrong to treat the discovery phase as an individual project — that’s how examining the potential of the target idea will lead to well-thought-out execution, deployment, and harvesting greater global exposure, user engagement, ROIs, and other benefits. Don’t miss this opportunity to avoid disasters of poorly checked hypotheses and software releases that won’t be in demand in the market.

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