Discovery Phase | Web Development

Discovery Phase: Understanding the Context and Size of a Project

About

Producing recyclable products in 12 countries

Recently, we teamed up with an innovative, multinational company that provides alternatives to fossil-based materials. Its recyclable and environmentally safe products are made of renewable and biodegradable materials. Less than two years in business, its Uruguayan subsidiary already has over 7,000 employees working on bioforest, cellulose, and biofuel products.

Challenge

An ineffective, manual process in need of automation

One of this company’s activities in Uruguay involves obtaining climate-resistant seeds from Canada that local producers can plant all year long with their existing harvest. The production is then sent to Europe as raw material to make biofuel for the factory's internal operations. This 6-month process includes importing the seeds, distributing them to more than 100 farmers, and certifying the grain and its sustainability.

Today, a large part of this work is handled with manual tools like Excel spreadsheets, meaning the team has to devote a lot of time to monitoring the farmers’ harvesting as well as registering and processing information. Thus, the company looked for a partner that could build a web app to automate and centralize some of the analysts’ processes, such as organizing the follow-up and certification processes while improving stakeholder communication.

Solution

A Discovery Phase prior to software development

When the client reached out to us, we soon realized that it could benefit from our Discovery Phase service due to the project’s size, complexity and numerous actors involved. We know from experience that building a new system from scratch is not only a challenge, but it’s also nearly impossible to estimate both the cost and time needed without having a broader understanding of what is required.

The expected output of the Discovery Phase with this client was to identify the priorities of the project and understand its size and specific tasks. To achieve this, two of our UX designers did an onsite workshop at the client’s office. There, they worked together with the business stakeholders and created a shared story map that identified the app’s most valuable features, even with enough detail for the designers to be able to create wireframes. Our UX team counted on our many internal teams, from Product Owners to developers, to approach the client’s challenge from different perspectives in order to propose a solution that not only solved the problem, but also took into account its users and technical viability.

Results

A roadmap for creating successful software

After a productive Discovery week, the designers came back to UruIT with a lot of insights to review. Then, they grouped the prioritized story maps with features in three sections which represented the three main users of the system and created an integrated proposal for the software development process.

The designers identified the business’ most valuable aspects of the software to be created and devised an MVP which allowed us to estimate with more precision. By prioritizing, we presented a full software development proposal that sought to fulfill the business goals while meeting users’ needs, in a way that we trusted would deliver the most value.