Discovery Projects: Strategies for Defining the Opportunity

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Proposal
Short Form
Intermediate

Excerpt

At a certain point an idea can become so big that you need to invest in a small project to properly define the big one. The objective of a discovery project is to define the goals & requirements, then narrow the "cone of uncertainty" enough so that the development process can begin on the right foot.

Description

At a certain point an idea can become so big that you need to invest in a small project to properly define the big one.

The objective of a discovery project is to define the goals & requirements, then narrow the “cone of uncertainty” enough so that the development process can begin on the right foot.

During this session we will discuss several techniques and exercises to help you get to know your stakeholders and how to plan for a solution that truly fulfills their business needs. Even if you can’t get budget set aside for a full discovery phase, some of these techniques can easily be used on a project of any scale and worked into your early conversations.

If you are using agile methodologies during implementation, everyone still needs to be in agreement about what they are trying to accomplish and how to define success. The output of a discovery project can be used to inform the decision-making process within each sprint and reduce the number of surprises, mystery stakeholders, and out of left field blockers as development progresses.

Your ability to identify the key stakeholders and pinpoint the features that provide them the most value can be critical to the project’s success and acceptance. You have to be able to put yourself in their shoes and ask the questions that even they haven’t thought of. You have to walk the line between listening and consulting. The intersection of your technical knowledge and the stakeholder’s institutional knowledge will define the “True North” for the project to come.

When working with a large business on complex projects such as portals or the modernization of business processes the number of variables can be overwhelming. Doing some of this up-front research can ease the worries of enterprise clients that require clearly defined objectives and set dollar amounts during the procurement process.

A good discovery will both inform you of your client’s needs, as well as give you the peace of mind that your team is being set up for success before the real project even begins.

Tags

discovery, planning

Speaking experience

A former educator with a history of speaking and training audiences on a small, medium, or large scale. Most recently presented at the 2014 Pacific NW Drupal Summit http://2014.pnwdrupalsummit.org/pacific-nw-drupal-summit-2014/sessions/drupal-admin-its-not-about-us Other recent activity: Drupal-centric presentations within enterprise client offices, ChickTech educator and presenter, Technology Association of Oregon committee member and upcoming speaker, Metal Toad Data Science SIG Speaker and Coordinator, technology motivational speaker at local high school and middle schools, regular Metal Toad “Burrito Share” presenter.

Speaker

  • Tom martin

    Tom Martin

    Metal Toad

    Biography

    Strategic planner with over thirteen years of experience in web and business solutions development.

    A diverse background that includes digital media, business development, business analytics, web development, software development, e-commerce, systems integrations, and the fine arts lends to the ability to speak the languages of business, development, and design. Most at home when the combination of those skills and knowledge are required to create a unique experience.

    Always on the lookout for intriguing engineering opportunities that challenge the mind and raise the bar of excellence.

    Takes great pride in being able to help those looking for technical solutions to real world problems. Infatuated with the idea of introducing transformative technology and processes to those in need.

    Specialties: solutions architecture, business solutions consultation, ideation, systems integrations, e-commerce, user interface development, and team leadership.