Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Discovery?

clarity collaboration discovery visual tools and templates

By Ryan Fullmer

June 11, 2022

Lack of Clarity

Too often teams lack clarity on customer needs, the problem and the outcomes. This results in wasteful rework and deliverables that don’t solve the customer’s problem. This can lead to a lack of confidence in the teams.

Ineffective discovery around the work is often the root cause. Teams lack a repeatable process for understanding the work in the backlog.

The conversations tend to be rushed and the focus is on getting started. They miss important discussions and perspectives. They think they have the information they need to move forward. They find out later that they made decisions on faulty assumptions. 

What Works

Over the years, we have found that teams long for more understanding of the work. They want more engagement with stakeholders and customers and more time for discovery. We focus on these three areas to help teams improve their discovery processes:

  1. Design and Plan - You need to design and plan Discovery meetings for them to be effective. The sessions need to be collaborative, engaging and valuable. Designing the meeting and creating a facilitation plan makes a big difference!
  2. Make it Visual - Use maps and canvases to help guide the discussions. Use them to document the discussions during the meeting. After the meeting, send them out to others to gather feedback. Focus on a few high-value maps and canvases. Less is often more.
  3. Iterate - Keep the meetings short, about 2 hours, to maintain focus and energy. Plan for more meetings as needed. Update the maps and canvases as you go. Incorporate feedback received from others. Stop when you have enough to move forward. You can update them later as you learn more.

When you get the most from discovery, the team is more motivated, innovative and confident. They avoid rework and deliver higher quality products to their customers. The teams are more satisfied with their discovery process and find the discovery meetings valuable.

Teams like that the sessions are:

  • Facilitated - They don’t waste time. The discussions are more open and they make quick progress.
  • Collaborative - Everyone is learning from each other. They are able to share what’s in their heads and get their questions answered. It feels good to have a common understanding.
  • Fun - The sessions are productive, lightweight and there are moments of laughter. They are less formal, aren’t too long and full of engaging activities.

Are you getting the most out of your discovery?

Take a look at your discovery sessions. Are there gaps and areas to improve? f so, download the free guide "How to use discovery to focus your Agile teams on solving the right problems". You will learn a simple, yet highly effective approach that you can use right away to get more from your discovery. 

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Start by downloading the guide: How to Use Discovery to Focus Your Agile Teams on Solving the Right Problems and gain free access to powerful resources, delivered to your inbox every week. 

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