To me, the Project Discovery Stage is the most fun part of Project Management. So what is it?
It’s funny how we don’t really know about anything, until we are forced to think about it. Of course I knew about Project Discovery. But I always elided it into the Project Definition Stage. It took a simple question to get me thinking.
You can think of it as either the first part of the Project Definition Stage, or as a stage before it. Either way, Project Discovery has a simple purpose: discovery.
It contributes to your Project Brief, with knowledge and understanding. So it is a process of learning (which is fun). In the Discovery Stage, you explore and learn about:
As part of this, in the Discovery Stage, we also do a little development work. Perhaps you might create a prototype, test some technology, or build a small part of the product you’ll go on to deliver.
Why? Because this discovery development work will give you knowledge:
If all this sounds a little like ‘doing your project, before you do your project’; you’re not wrong. Projects are iterative; even traditional ‘waterfall’ projects.
But the benefit is two-fold:
So, will you carve some time out of your next project for a Discovery Stage? I hope so.
Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 13 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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