Website Development Consulting & Discovery Phase Explained Top to Bottom

Website Development Consulting - Lemberg Blog

Developing a company platform or a website is a complex process that requires solid technical expertise and a reliable business model in the picture. Considering that hundreds of new websites go live every minute, facing competition, let alone beating it, is not the easiest thing.  Suppose you have a brand new business idea with sufficient funding. What now? Getting website tech consulting is the best first step to get the project off the ground. It is also relevant when your project is lacking people with the needed tech skills, has some technical debt, or has outgrown its current state.

But what is web development consulting? How do you know if you really need it and can actually benefit from it? That’s a stonewall many business owners face when launching new initiatives. 

At Lemberg Solutions, we hold frequent consulting sessions and know just how much impact they make on overall business success. This is the very reason why we have developed our very own version of a project discovery phase where we help clients turn their ideas into results-driven projects.

In this short article, we’re going to share everything you need to know about website tech consulting, discovery phases, and their value in web development.

What is website tech consulting and why do you need it? 

Web development consulting is the next step to take once you have a solid business idea at hand. This is the stage where business owners get to understand what platform or technology makes the best fit for their business needs. 

In simple terms, investing in website tech consulting means you reach out to external experts to set your web development project for smooth sailing. As a rule, those experts become a part of your team for the duration of the project and help you make the best choice in technology, come up with site architecture strategies, take control of the development, testing, launching, and scaling processes. Website development consultants will often raise the bar for your business as they are good problem solvers who possess superior technical skills and get their job done by sustaining effective communication with everyone around them. 

Web development consulting services are necessary for having a positive experience when going through your web development process. After all, building a website, especially if it is meant for corporate purposes, is more complicated than it might sound. There are many important technical components you can learn about only when taking web tech consulting. Selecting the best hosting service, arranging a domain, and developing the website — all of these always lie on the surface.

But there is an array of things that only qualified website development consultants can tell you about. To name a few, they can help you with web security, give web performance advice, arrange further website maintenance, and provide tech support when the platform goes live. You might also get help with APIs, update installation, bug fixing, delivery systems, salesforce integrations, payment systems, and the like.  

Website Development Consulting - image1

This is the very reason why, in most cases, web development consulting is crucial for business success, especially if the product or service you want to present to the world is of innovative nature. Tech experts usually start off by identifying project needs, putting all the requirements together, and then building an outline for the future website. In some cases, they might also help you spot the best resources for your projects and take charge of the development process. It is the combination of all of these components that can help you end up with an immaculate business website at the end of the journey.

Here’s what Roman Paska, our Head of Web Development, has to say about web development consulting:

“The consulting stage is not just a nice-to-have — it’s a must, you can’t go around it. In some cases, clients manage it with their existing resources. In others — they lack technical expertise and want to get expert feedback on their projects. One way or another, you’re going to go through that consulting stage, it just goes down to the question of whether you have the needed expertise onsite or need to reach out to some team of professionals. But even if you do have that technical expertise, getting a second opinion on the project can’t hurt, right?”    

So how do you make sure that your specific project really needs website tech consulting and requires that time, resource, and money investment? Here are a few cases where you would really benefit from it: 

  1. Your company has been growing exponentially and you now need a new website or a platform so you reach out to relevant experts to realize the project.
  2. You have grown out of the startup status and are now entering new business development levels, but your product or website has a lot of technical debt, which is why you need to get some web development consulting before moving on to the next stage.
  3. You are building a solution for your client but don’t have enough technical expertise to deliver the quality you want and are looking for some advice.
  4. You own a product but to deliver a new implementation, you need tech consultants to help you out with architecture and web development.

In some cases, a web development consulting company might offer you the opportunity to go through a discovery phase, which is the most effective way to get a clear understanding of what the project is going to be like and how to start off that tech development process on the right foot.

Discovery phase: why, how, and when?

A discovery phase usually aims at gathering all the stakeholders within a series of meetings for them to ideate and define project requirements, objectives, and desired outcomes. In the context of website development consulting, a discovery phase will primarily focus on the technology-related part of the project. Whether you need to develop a new website or remake an existing one, a brainstorming session of this kind will help website development consultants uncover your true needs and get to know the product’s target audience. On top of that, this step will help all the parties involved build trust and rapport, increasing the chances of project success. 

Sergiy Karpyuk, our Project Manager, comments on the value of a discovery phase:

“A discovery phase is, at its core, a great brainstorming session. We ask a lot of questions and get feedback from the client. And it works both ways: the client can also ask what it is that has to be changed or optimized and get actionable feedback from us. Based on our experience with discovery phases, we raise a lot of questions and subjects that would never even occur to our clients, and that’s why they really value our website tech consulting. They get to explore the sides of the projects they didn’t know existed and see a clear structure they can rely on when developing their product or platform later on.”

Most importantly, website tech consulting and discovery phases can save companies lots of money. When going through that consultation stage, experts give realistic feedback on the project and product idea. They have the needed expertise and experience to spot early on if the project is not going to fly, needs more preparation, or lacks funding. This means that the client gets to make an informed decision about whether they want to proceed with the project or step back and reconsider it. Instead of investing time, effort, and money into an idea that will eventually fail, you get to take the driver’s seat from the get-go.

So, how does it work?

Website Development Consulting - image2

Stage 1: Preliminary arrangements

This stage usually requires up to one week of preparation, with the client investing about 2-4 hours of their time in it. The preparation involves the client’s request analysis, team engagement, and agenda planning. 

Stage 2: Discovery phase session

The discovery phase itself takes from 2 to 4 days, depending on the scope of the project, and requires the client to be involved for about 4 to 6 hours every day. This is the point where all the magic happens, the project gets planned out to the tiniest detail, and everyone gets to think outside the box on how to maximize project outcomes. 

As a rule, the agenda of your discovery phase session will be based on the issues you predefine, but here is a rough sketch of what it could unravel:

  1. Kick-off/intro meeting
  2. Business goals & needs discussion
  3. User persona definition
  4. Technical requirements elicitation
  5. Collaboration model discussion
  6. Summary and demo meeting

At the end of a discovery phase session, you’ll have a defined project scope, solution architecture, and tech stack. What’s no less important, you’ll get a detailed estimate and timeline, which will make it easy for you to understand what it is you are in for in terms of finances and timing.

Stage 3: Post-discovery arrangements

Following the discovery phase session, website development consultants might need about 2 weeks to decide how their plans can be set in motion. At this stage, the client only needs to devote about 2 to 4 hours of their time to project preparation. It helps make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding project planning, deliverables, and further steps. 

After website tech consulting, you can expect to have the tech side of the project planned out from A to Z, including the documentation and essentials to get the project off the ground. With all that data at hand, you can either present the game plan to your own team or continue working with the chosen consultants for them to build the platform you need. 

For more information about the subject, visit our discovery phase page.

WoW: first-hand experience with a discovery phase

Website Development Consulting - image3

Women on Wings (WoW) is a Dutch social enterprise aimed at increasing female employment in rural India. They provide training and consultations to help Indian businesses create more female-oriented jobs in forestry, agriculture, food production, and textile. The WoW team decided to create an intranet platform using community software Open Social. Here’s how their discovery phase went with Lemberg Solutions:

Stage 1: Pre-discovery

To understand their web development consulting needs, analyze the core platform idea, and see if Open Social can work for it, we requested input materials, had a few discussions, and took a week to prepare for the discovery phase.

Stage 2: Discovery phase

The WoW team visited us onsite for 3 days, which gave everyone enough time to brainstorm, discuss all available ideas, take a close look at the end user, analyze their needs, work out user roles and stories, ask questions, and find common ground on the way the platform would have to look like. The purpose of this was for everyone to dig deep into project options and needs. 

Stage 3: Post-discovery

Our approach to website tech consulting is quite simple: we rule out all the ideas that will not benefit your project, do extensive research and analysis, and give feedback. With this project, we settled on the best scenario to build the platform using Open Social and prepared a proposal as well as all the needed documents to get the project started. Among other things, our partners received a user types matrix, low fidelity wireframes, defined epics, and a ballpark estimation of the project. With that at hand, they decided to have our website development consultants not only help them in preparation but also build the platform from the ground up. 

You can read more on this project in this Women on Wings case study

How to choose the most relevant consultants for your project?

  1. See where the consultants’ strongest expertise lies and what kinds of projects they have experience with. If you see a clear match there then chances are high that you found the right team to develop your project. 
  2. Don’t forget about word of mouth, it’s the most reliable recommendation ever. Reach out to fellow business owners and see what web development consulting company they have worked with. This way you don’t just find a good team but also get a chance to see what kind of projects they deliver. 
  3. Check what certifications the tech consulting company has. If they happen to have ISO:9001 & ISO:27001 certifications in security and quality then you practically hit the jackpot. It’s very hard to get these certifications, and the website development consultants that do get them are always top-tier. 
  4. Be sure that the company offering website tech consulting has practical experience developing the projects they design, not just providing consultations or management services. It is also a bad sign if the company is not willing to realize the project they plan out.   
  5. See if web development consulting involves extensive research and takes a reasonable amount of time. It is hardly likely that you can get reliable feedback and accurate estimations within a day.

Website tech consulting is an essential step to take on your way to success and it is certainly well worth the effort. Being able to see the big picture from the very beginning of your project is not as common as one would want it to be: blind spots usually hide where you don’t expect them to.

However, with a team of tech experts by your side, you don’t only get a chance to build something people will benefit from, but to actually corner the market by doing your homework and investing enough time in preparation prior to project launch. To sign up for web development consulting or schedule a discovery phase with our tech experts, feel free to visit our contact page or reach out to Roy Vikovych.