Why Perform Discovery (Envision) On the Front End of a Development Process?

June 19, 2012


The rapid evolution of technologies, users and markets has increased the pressure on the software industry to respond to industry criticisms.

Some of these criticisms were well deserved and these three top the list:

Why does it cost so much?
Why does it take so long?
Why can’t we get what we asked for?

Envision ensures that both technical and non-technical stakeholders are part of the process. We involve many of these same stakeholders in the development process at SEP as well. This strongly addresses the “what we asked for” issue. Our ability to capture and convert stakeholder knowledge and expertise into product offerings is enhanced by their close involvement with the process. The more input and involvement the better the business value conversion.

We also know that lack of shared vision is a big issue affecting product development outcomes. Despite good intention and much planning, SEP rarely finds a product development team with a strong product vision. In fact, we have yet to see it. This includes clients that spend months and years carefully planning and discussing their plans. Envision solidifies the vision .

Why do products take so long to build? They are too big. Why do they take so long? Many products have too much waste. Envision helps us identify waste and prioritize product features.


If you study project management and estimation, experts across multiple industries will agree that the larger the project, the larger the potential for estimation error; the smaller projects or pieces, generally the less risk. Envision breaks products into smaller releases. We get to market faster with less cost, and we plan to respond or pivot in response to market feedback, yielding better market response. Market response, by the way, is becoming a minimum user expectation in many of the new developing product markets. How often are your iPhone apps updated?

SEP also gains important information for forward planning purposes performing Envision. One of the deliverables of Envision for SEP is the information needed to estimate product development activities. It helps us significantly with estimation.

I haven’t mentioned it here but SEP’s Collaborative Development processes provide additional support in addressing the three major issues mentioned earlier. The key is collaborative as we involve our clients in the development processes as well.

SEP now has the means to address these significant industry issues: cost, schedule and fit. We would also say that market responsiveness is also greatly improved.

You might expect that I am very excited about where SEP is going. It is a great feeling to tackle these criticisms about our industry head on and let people know that is doesn’t have to be that way.