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Collaboration in the Discovery Phase of Product Development

Collaboration in the Discovery Phase of Product Development

Published on: 25 Aug 2023 8 min read

A new product rarely operates in complete isolation. Usually, it integrates (openly or behind the scenes) with other products of the same vendor and/or external components.

When working with delivery partners, the context of the partner is often limited to the product itself, without providing context to its surroundings. Lacking this context often leads to poor technological decisions. Component structures are architected falsely, due to a lack of knowledge of other interacting components, and non-functional requirements are missed because their overall context isn’t visible.

Scalefocus generally starts every product development collaboration with an in-depth discovery phase staffed with experts filling various roles.

 

The BA’s Role in Collaboration

Business Analysts (BA) are instrumental in collaboration during the product development discovery phase. They work closely with product managers, designers, developers, and customers to grasp the project requirements and purposes. The BA analyzes data and develops strategies to assist the team in achieving their goals.

The BA can also identify business opportunities the product might potentially address by doing market research, analyzing customer feedback, and monitoring industry trends. This could lead to recognizing new features or functions that make the product more valuable and appealing to customers.

Business Analysts play a crucial role in defining the project scope, collecting and analyzing user feedback, and identifying potential risks. They also have a hand in developing user stories and requirements that direct the development process.

BAs are the link between technical and business experts. They ensure the project meets the business needs while delivering value to the end-users. On the other hand, their collaboration with the development team ensures they are on the same page, the technical requirements are clearly communicated and documented, and the team has the necessary resources and context.

The Solution Architect‘s Role in Collaboration

The architect’s main responsibility is designing a technical solution that meets the project requirements, as well as all security, performance, and compliance standards. Their work also involves collaboration with business stakeholders and development teams to ensure the solution can be implemented efficiently.

The Solution Architects’ work before the actual development starts can be extremely valuable. They can identify hidden dependencies, pitfalls, and optimizations early on and improve the final outcome significantly. Not too seldom, they can identify critical issues in the initial system design and save the entire team from working in the wrong direction as a whole. Generally, their ability to oversee the big picture in conjunction with binding technological decisions adds significant value and can be seen as an insurance policy for the phases to follow.

Solution Architects and BAs analyze the requirements together, identify technical constraints and dependencies, develop mitigation strategies, and propose solutions in accordance with the project objectives. They also evaluate the product feasibility and its alignment with the company’s roadmap and ensure its scalability, maintainability, and support of enhancements and modifications.

The Delivery Management Role in Collaboration

Delivery Managers ensure the quality of project planning and execution. Their collaboration with stakeholders, BAs, and the development team is pivotal for the alignment and coordination of all the project’s aspects.

Working closely with the BA, delivery managers identify potential risks and challenges, while creating realistic strategies and mitigating issues together with the tech team. They also define project milestones and objectives to define the project’s pace and outcome.

The Delivery Managers monitor the project’s progress and communicate the strategy to all team members. They also need to ensure the project is delivered within budget and on time and work with stakeholders to allocate the necessary resources.

Fully aware of the significance of the discovery phase of product development, Scalefocus handles this stage of any project with exceptional attention to detail. We always select the team members based on the roles that have been listed above, as our experience shows this very combination is the most efficient possible. Read on to find out what are the benefits of collaborating with an accomplished delivery partner.

Overall Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

Having a delivery partner within the overall context of a new product significantly improves multiple aspects of the product itself.

Overall Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

1. User Experience (UX)

User research and feedback collected by the delivery partner can enhance the user experience when creating more intuitive apps. The simplified user interface makes products easier to utilize and provides the seamless user experience customers look for.

2. Performance and Scalability

Performance and Scalability are also among the aspects a reliable delivery partner can optimize. Extensive testing, identifying bottlenecks, and optimizing code and database queries are a few of the activities that secure the solution does not compromise performance quality when user load has increased.

3. Security

It goes without saying that security is paramount in any phase of the product development process. Security audits, following the best practices for data encryption, protection against vulnerabilities, and compliance with all industry standards and regulations are areas where a delivery partner can make vital contributions.

4. Feature Development

Delivery partners collaborate with software developers to enhance existing functionalities and introduce new ones. This means they need to understand the product requirements and leverage their technical expertise to deliver user-friendly features.

5. Quality Assurance and Testing

You cannot improve product quality without Quality Assurance and Testing. Delivery partners’ expertise can shine through by introducing improved testing methodologies, automating test cases, and performing quality assurance checks to meet all reliability and performance standards.

Business Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

A delivery partner can contribute to improving aspects of a software product within the business context. 

Business Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

Here are some examples of how they can make a positive impact on bridging the gap between the technical aspects of software development and the business objectives:

1. Project Management

Efficient resource allocation, realistic timelines and milestones, and improved communication between stakeholders – delivery partners can enhance project management practices in many ways. Their contribution can result in streamlined development processes, better productivity, and achieved KPIs.

2. Cost Optimization

Delivery partners can identify potential areas of substantial cost savings by closely monitoring project expenditure and resource availability and utilization. When the ultimate goal is cost reduction without sacrificing execution quality, it is vital to optimize all software development processes, recommend efficient tools or technologies, and suggest alternative approaches if necessary.

3. Agile Adoption

Agile methodologies implementation significantly improves software development processes. A delivery partner’s role in the adoption of Scrum or Kanban agile practices includes the facilitation of daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and retrospectives. The desired outcome is more efficient collaboration, improved transparency, and quicker response to changing business needs.

4. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is always a top priority, and the delivery partner plays a decisive role in client engagement, feedback analysis, and incorporating customer requirements into the product roadmap. To meet and, ideally, exceed customer expectations, there must be a clear understanding of the business goals so development efforts are aligned accordingly.

5. Continuous Improvement

The culture of continuous improvement within the development team is also critical and the delivery partner can be its ambassador. Iterative enhancements to the software product are impossible without perpetual knowledge sharing, retrospective sessions, and implementation of feedback loops.

Technological Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

Last but not least, the delivery partner’s contribution to improving a new product within the technological context is hard to ignore.

Technological Benefits of Collaborating with a Delivery Partner

You can find some of the key impacted areas below:

1. Technology Selection

Evaluation and selection of the most suitable technologies and frameworks for the software product are among the most important duties. To choose the optimal technology stack for a project, the delivery partner needs to assess multiple factors like scalability, performance, security, and maintainability.

2. Architecture and Design

The delivery partners’ expertise in software product design and architecture is also critical to identify scalable and modular architecture patterns, separate concerns, and promote best practices for code organization. This enables the vendor to build a robust and scalable foundation for the product.

3. Code Quality and Maintainability

The durability of a software product is impossible without constantly improving its code quality and maintainability. Companies can leverage their delivery partners’ expertise to meet coding standards, conduct code reviews, and automate testing. This will inevitably reduce technical debt, enhance maintainability, and improve product stability.

4. Integration and Interoperability

The modern interconnected software landscape makes external system integration and interoperability a must. Designing and implementing seamless integrations, leveraging APIs, and adhering to industry standards are necessary to guarantee smooth collaboration between the software product and other systems.

5. Performance Optimization

Enhanced product performance grants the smooth user experience companies strive for. Analyzing performance bottlenecks, optimizing algorithms and data structures, employing caching strategies, and leveraging techniques like load balancing and horizontal scaling are among the practices that enable the needed improvement.

6. Automation and DevOps

Delivery partners can play a major role in development, testing, and deployment process automation. Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines, automated

testing frameworks, and tools for infrastructure as code streamline development workflows, reduce manual errors, and accelerate time-to-market.

 

Conclusion

The delivery partners’ role is far from restricted to doing the heavy lifting, as they can also act as consulting partners that give valuable input throughout the entire process.

If you would like to learn more about Scalefocus’ product development process, you can read some of our articles here and here.

About the Author:

Krasimir Kunchev

Krasimir Kunchev

Senior Content Writer

Kras is a true musical force-turned-copywriter. What can we say? Multitalented people do exist, and we got them! He’s been on stage since the mid-nineties when punk rock was alive and kicking. Fittingly, he started his writing career as a rock journalist and later learned his chops in advertising.

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