Diving into step two of the ID-GEM process – “Discovery Questions”

In today’s post, we’re going to be talking more about the steps of ID-GEM – the business impact software framework from Amadeus Consulting that is designed to streamline your development process. ID-GEM is a free, downloadable planning tool that helps organizations incorporate business objectives early in the development process to reduce software project failure rates by addressing the need for better front-end planning.

In our last post, we talked about step one – the “I” of ID-GEM, which stands for “Identify Value.” It might be helpful to take a step back and read that blog so you can understand the importance of identifying business value before beginning your project.

So now that you’re brought up to speed with step one, let’s launch right into step two – D, for “Discovery Questions.” This is the part of your software project where you put on your sleuthing hats and start searching out the right questions to get you where you want to go.

We like to say that the discovery questions phase of ID-GEM is where the real works starts in earnest. The goal of creating your discovery questions is not necessarily to be all-inclusive of every possible question and scenario you may face in the development of your product, but rather to spur additional questions and lead you down a path of discovery.

With that in mind, when you and your other stakeholders sit down to start your discovery sessions, it is helpful to approach these meetings not as “this is the time when we must narrow down to the right questions and answers” but as brainstorming sessions where quantity trumps quality. Essentially, it’s the age-old saying, “There is no such thing as a dumb [discovery] question.” You can always go back to your library of questions and pick the “best” ones, but oftentimes the best discovery questions don’t come from the beginning of the session, but at the end of the brainstorming sessions, once many ideas can be distilled into better ones

It’s also important to get input at this stage from more than just your developers. Your marketing people may have a great idea based on brand strategy that the technical lead may not consider. Like any good brainstorming session, having a variety of opinions and experiences will lead to a more fruitful discussion – and when it comes to ID-GEM, we consider this collection of different personas imperative to the success of the “Discovery Questions” step.

Finally – and this is more of a matter of personal preference – but our experience indicates that writing the questions up on white boards can be beneficial for the collection of questions. It makes it easy to quickly jot down ideas as they come from different team members and it also helps spur new ideas and thought processes. When you’re done, you can quickly take a snapshot of the whiteboard on your phone to save and share.

Now that you’ve gone through the process of identifying the value you want your product to have, and have started to generate the questions that will help you determine any potential considerations you should account for as you develop your build, you are well on your way to ID-GEM success. Stay tuned for the next blog where we will delve into step 3 – “G” for “Goal Creation.”  To learn more about ID-GEM, please visit (http://www.amadeusconsulting.com/idgem).