Demystifying IT Project Success: The Role of the Discovery Phase

Ilya Shirshov

6/6/20232 min read

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Launching an IT Project WITH a Discovery Phase


  1. Risk Mitigation: The discovery phase allows for potential risks and challenges to be identified early, enabling the team to devise mitigation strategies. This could save time and resources down the line.

  2. Clear Budgeting: During the discovery phase, a detailed budget can be developed, providing a clearer understanding of the financial resources required. This can prevent cost overruns and unexpected expenses later in the project.

  3. Streamlined Scope and Requirements: This phase involves detailed exploration of the project requirements and scope, leading to a well-defined project plan. This clarity can prevent scope creep and misunderstandings about the project objectives and deliverables.

  4. Stakeholder Alignment: The discovery phase encourages stakeholder involvement and alignment, ensuring everyone has the same understanding and expectations of the project.

  5. Better Estimation of Time and Resources: Through understanding the project scope and complexities, the project timeline and resource needs can be more accurately estimated.


  1. Increased Upfront Cost and Time: The discovery phase requires an investment of time and resources upfront, which might be seen as a drawback, particularly for clients who want to rush into development.

  2. Possible Resistance from Stakeholders: Sometimes, stakeholders might resist this phase as they may view it as a delay to the start of the actual project development. It can require effort to educate them about its importance.

Launching an IT Project WITHOUT a Discovery Phase


  1. Immediate Start: Without the discovery phase, projects can kick-off immediately, which might be preferable for clients under tight deadlines.

  2. Lower Initial Cost: Eliminating the discovery phase may appear to reduce the initial cost, which could be attractive for budget-conscious clients.


  1. Increased Risk: Without a discovery phase, potential risks and challenges might not be identified until they arise during the project, which could lead to delays and increased costs.

  2. Unclear Scope and Requirements: Without a proper understanding of the project scope and requirements, there's a greater chance of misunderstandings, scope creep, and unsatisfactory project outcomes.

  3. Potential for Cost Overruns: Without a detailed budget developed in the discovery phase, the project is more likely to experience cost overruns.

  4. Inaccurate Time and Resource Estimations: Without a clear understanding of the project, it's hard to estimate accurately the time and resources needed, potentially leading to delays and resource shortages.

While there are some short-term benefits to skipping the discovery phase, the potential long-term drawbacks make it a risky choice. For most projects, the discovery phase is a worthwhile investment that helps ensure project success.