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Discovery & Analysis

The Discovery and Analysis service consists of identifying business and technological drivers that motivate a web development project, as well as collecting data about current systems and their performance. This phase is important because it will determine direction and specific actionable tasks of later project phases, as well as the actual costs associated with the entire project.

The Discovery & Analysis effort will focus on understanding the functional and design requirements of the new website. This phase will begin with a Kickoff meeting during which we discuss all of the elements that will be present in the deliverables for this phase.

The Discovery & Analysis deliverables are as follows:

  1. Design/Functional/Technical Specifications
  2. Site Map and Interactive Wireframes
  3. Project Plan

1. Design/Functional/Technical Specifications

In most cases the Discovery Phase is executed via a series of interviews (either by phone or in person). The result is a solid research center to support the technical architecture and development efforts. Our experience has been that this is one of the most valuable phases in the project lifecycle, as it ensures that the Client’s wants and needs are adequately captured and planned in a way that results in successful delivery of the end-product.

The Design/Functional/Technical Specifications details:

  • Design requirements
  • Site structure and Information Architecture
  • Features and functionality
  • Administrative and end-user requirements
  • User roles
  • Content types
  • Content workflow (a "day in the life" of a piece of website content)
  • Analytics/Tracking plan

The deliverables of the Specifications phase are:

  • User Stories: User stories describe how users are envisioned to interact with the future system based on their profile, needs and situation. Depending on the project, we'll either develop high-level user stories to generate buy-in from all stakeholders, or develop "click-by-click" descriptions of how users will interact with the system to get the information they need.
  • Wiki-Based Functional & Technical Specifications: Six Feet Up leverages a simple and user-friendly wiki system to create a set of design, functional and technical specifications that can easily link to development tickets and the underlying code repository once the development effort starts. This ensures a fast and efficient collaboration process with our clients.
  • Architecture Diagrams: Based on UML standards, the “Architecture Diagrams” translate business requirements into system constraints by describing custom content interactions. This deliverable aims at creating a central technical reference for developers and QA engineers working on the project. This work is spearheaded by the Senior Architect and performed in collaboration with the development team.

2. Site Map & Interactive Wireframes

The site map and wireframes will be developed iteratively with you and will include:

  • Project Site Map: The “Site Map” is a high-level diagram showing the overall information structure of a site and how the various assets relate to each other.
  • Interactive Wireframes: These wireframes are developed from the end user’s perspective and are based off of the decisions made in the Functional Specification document. Wireframes are simple schematic drawings that show the layout and placement of elements on a Web page before any colors, graphics, or actual content is placed on the page. Wireframes allow us to simulate browsing and provide a much better feel for the overall site. In our experience, wireframes are extremely important in helping to identify anything that might be missing from the initial plans. It's always less costly to make major changes earlier in the process. Wireframes are created as HTML-enabled, clickable pages, allowing the various project stakeholders to easily check the proposed features.

3. Project Plan

The final deliverable is a Project Plan document including the following elements:

  • Project Gantt chart showing both effort and duration
  • Estimated Project Budget


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