How to run a Discovery Workshop

Good foundations are essential to launching a digital product. Whether you’re a start up looking to launch a multi vendor marketplace, or a large enterprise needing a custom software solution for your business, your project should be fully defined and scoped out long before development begins.

The Product Discovery process is especially important when you have a vision but need support with mapping out the functionality and other aspects of the product. At Code23, we always recommend starting with a Product Discovery Session to streamline the product development process and ensure you have all of the functionality you require to deliver a successful digital product, on time and on budget.


What is a Discovery Workshop?

A Discovery Workshop is the first step in the planning phase of the development process. It is usually the opening meeting between the client and the team who will be working on your project. The client will share their ideas and vision for the business, which will enable the project team to have a shared understanding of the product and the goals of the project.

Whilst running through the Discovery Workshop exercises the project team will have the opportunity to discuss and explore the scope of work and guide the client in the right direction. The Discovery Workshop activities you undertake will also help to identify any critical business challenges you may face during the development phase.

On completion of the Product Discovery process, you should all have a clear understanding of the scope of work and development process, and will be ready to move onto the next phase: User Experience and Interface.

Who takes part in a Discovery Workshop?

The Discovery Session will be led by the facilitator, who is often an Agile Coach or Scrum Master. They will be responsible for translating the information gathered in the workshop into a strategic document and development plan. That being said, the Discovery Workshop should be treated as a collaborative exercise, where topics and ideas can be explored freely.

As well as the primary client stakeholders, the project team members involved from the development agency will typically include:

  • The Facilitator (often an Agile Coach or Scrum Master)
  • Project Manager
  • Technical Lead
  • UX Designer

What are the key objectives of a Product Discovery Workshop?

The main aim of the Discovery Workshop exercises is to assess the scope of the project. But there are other important objectives that should be achieved during the Product Discovery process:

  • Understanding the motivation behind the project
  • Establishing who the target audience is
  • Define the value proposition
  • Agree the metrics for success
  • Outline the core functionalities of the product
  • Estimate the project timeline
  • Estimate the budget to release the product

Why are Discovery Workshops so important?

There are numerous benefits to running a Discovery Workshop, for both the client and the project team. Some of which we have listed below:

1. Build a relationship with your team

By running a project planning workshop you’ll get to meet some of the project team who will be working on your digital product. They will likely cover a wide range of specialisms, like product strategy, project management, design and  development. This knowledge sharing opportunity is invaluable to the successful delivery of your project.

2. Reduce potential risks

During the Discovery Workshop you will not only detail your product vision, but also your business as a whole. This will help identify any pain points or risks that may occur during the development process. Identifying these early enables you to come up with solutions to these risks before they occur.

3. Map out a development roadmap for your project

On completion of the Discovery Workshop you will receive a detailed strategic document that will include all the important details that are needed to kickstart your project. This will of course include a development roadmap and timeline through to the launch of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and beyond.

4. Speed up development

By engaging in the Discovery Workshop exercises you will be presented with a list of all of the features and functionality that will be included in your digital product. This minimises the risk of ‘scope creep’ and will speed up the development phase and ultimately the product delivery.

5. Reduce costs

The planning session will characterise which features and functionality will be included, and  importantly, at which stage in the development cycle they will be built. Having this development plan agreed before development starts reduces the risk of ‘scope creep’ and unnecessary additional development costs.

How to run a Discovery Workshop – a typical discovery session agenda

Asking the right questions is key throughout the Discovery Workshop and delivering meaningful outcomes is the primary goal of Discovery Meetings. Here is how we approach a typical Discovery Workshop:

Step 1: Discovery

  • How does the business operate? How will this affect the project?
  • What is the product vision?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Who are the main competitors?

Step 2: Technical Appraisal

  • What integrations &/or API’s are required?
  • What are the Hosting considerations?

Step 3: Development Roadmap

  • What is MVP and what is future development?
  • What does success look like and how is it defined?
  • What are the potential roadblocks on the project?
  • What marketing considerations have you thought about?

Step 4: Project Management Roadmap

  • What are the expected timings on the project?
  • Are there any events/dates we need to be aware of?

Step 5: Deliverables

  • Clear understanding of the full scope of the project
  • List of priority features for MVP
  • Functional specification (User stories)
  • Project management roadmap
  • Technical stack and product architecture
  • Time and cost estimation


Running a project planning workshop takes time and effort, but is an essential step to launching a successful digital product. By kicking off with a Discovery Workshop you’re ensuring a smooth ride throughout development that’s built on strong foundations. Get in touch to kickstart your next project with our award winning digital product development team.