Framework Agile Digital Development Framework

1 - Discovery

The discovery phase enables you to form a team around a clear understanding of a problem. We always start with a discovery phase, even if a service thinks they know the problem or has already identified a solution. In some cases peoples understanding of the problem may be wrong and sometimes the solution turns out to only partially solve the problem particularly when that problem is complex. You shouldn’t start building your service in discovery.

In the discovery phase you need to understand and map out the user journey.

You should find out:

  • who your users are
  • your users’ needs and how you’re meeting them, or any needs you’re not meeting
  • what the user journey for your proposed service might look like
  • how to meet accessibility requirements
  • how we will measure success

What to do in discovery

To get the information you need in discovery, you should:

Discovery Session

You should hold a discovery session which must include the product owner plus other members of the service area and if appropriate Customer Services

This does not have to be a long process but must identify:

  • Who are the service users?
  • User stories (GDS example)
  • Outline plan for product and functionality
  • Workflow diagram
  • Product stages (Testing points)
  • Accessibility issues and any special user groups and requirements
  • Data protection considerations and completion of DPIA by PO
  • Product backlog (this can be done by the D team post the session)

It should be done in a group and in one session if possible with everything agreed by the product owner

How will we measure success?

Specific performance indicators and ESB’s (Efficiencies, Savings and Benefits) should be identified by the PO and developed with the help of the Transformation team.

Generic Indicators are:

  • Number of transactions done via digital means compared to other channels (Digital Uptake)
  • Form/process completion rate

To help measure ESB’s you should also where possible

  • Baseline number of transactions done by existing method.
  • Estimate the time taken through existing channels as accurately as possible.
  • Estimate number of transactions that will move to digital and the cost saving. (this will be staff time)
  • Calculate any savings from other sources such as material cost e.g. retiring an old system


There are a number of research techniques and workshop-based tools that can help you during Discovery:

Documents you should complete

  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)
  • Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)

Moving to the next Phase

Moving to Alpha Meeting

This meeting will decide whether we proceed to the next phase of development and should include the PO and Head of Service as well as specialist such as GDPR officers if required.

The meeting will consider and answer the following:

  • The definition of done and whether it can be delivered in the time frame and with the resources available to a required standard. (Iron triangle)
  • The ESB’s to be gained from doing the project and whether it is an improvement to existing service and if it is value for money.
  • Are there any other considerations such as organisational, legal or political that mean we must or must not do the project?
  • Do we proceed?
  • If we do not proceed do we repeat the discovery phase or end the project?

End of phase checklist

By the end of Discovery we should have:

  • A shared understanding of the problem and how we might solve it
  • Identified all of the types of users and stakeholders associated with the project
  • Interviewed users to learn about their experience, skills and needs from an ideal solution
  • Mapped the customer journey and understood the key pain points
  • Mapped the business process and identified key constraints
  • Hypotheses for the types of improvement we may be able to deliver
  • A business case to justify the next phase of investment required
  • Definition of Done

Digital Services

The Digital Service team at Maidstone Borough Council lead on the research, design and development of user centered services for residents in Maidstone

Find out more about the team

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