Azure Discovery Framework

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Why did we create the discovery framework?

We have collectively been involved in hundreds of technology projects.  We’ve seen what works and what can go wrong.  When we start new projects, one key factor of success is alignment

  • Stakeholder alignment – ensure everyone within your organisation can agree on the scope and key aims
  • Customer-suppler alignment – ensure that we have a clear summary of a project for us to build a statement of work
  • Project team alignment – ensure everyone in the project team (who may not have been involved in early discussions) is aligned with the aims and key outcomes of the project

We found that many of the tools available were simply not up to the job.  Some are sales-focused, and focus on price and value – nothing wrong here – but are not able to capture the information required to align a technology project.  Others are tech-focussed, and contain just too much detail that can wait for when the designers get involved.

We evolved our own framework that we use in conjunction with a facilitated Azure Discovery Workshop so that we can get just enough information to align everyone, without taking too much time and effort to be a project in itself!

What challenges to you typically encounter during the project initiation phase?

Not just wanting to take our own word for it, a recent LinkedIn poll that we did clearly showed that clarity on objectives & scope and stakeholder alignment were the 2 key issues when initiating a project.  Our Azure Discovery Framework can help you with both of these.

Where does this fit in the process?

We have a standard customer journey that looks like this:

345 Customer Journey

As you can see, the Azure Discovery Workshop (producing the Azure Discovery Framework) happens right at the start of the process.  This is to ensure that every subsequent step is as focused and efficient as possible, and this only happens if everyone is aligned on the project. 

What does the output look like?

Here is an example of a completed template.  This is for quite a simple project, but it provides a good illustration of the value that the Azure Discovery Framework brings to a project.

In this project, a customer came to us with a business problem that they had some legacy systems they did not use – but still had to pay annual license costs for.  They no longer used these systems, except to view historical data.  Apart from that, the data was completely static.

Azure Discovery Framework

We worked with them to envisage a solution – in this case moving the data to Azure SQL with a search UI – and listed out some of the key features of the solution and what we still needed to know.

Azure Discovery Framework

As we dug deeper into the requirements and the solution, we found that there were other unknowns and risks that we needed to call out.  Some of these would need to be addressed before the project started, others could be dealt with during the project with the knowledge that the risks exist and need to be mitigated.

Azure Discovery Framework

This framework allowed us to proceed smoothly with the project.  Although there are always technical issues that come up and need to be solved, at least in this case the alignment at the start meant that there was no wasted effort building features that people didn’t want, or misunderstanding what was most important in the project.

Names, price and technical details have been changed to protect the customer’s confidential commercial information.

Get the tools

We typically facilitate a session to help get the best discovery for you and create the Azure Discovery Framework summary document for you.  If you’d like us to help you with this, you can find out more here.  However, if you’re facilitating your own session you can still download the template for free and fill it in yourself.

Download the Azure Discovery Framework template…

Further reading