Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Doing Discovery “Beyond the Fence” – Other Important Questions to Ask

Imagine you are doing a major remodel of your house and you are in a discussion with the architect about new house design – what should you consider?

There are two sets of items: “inside the fence” and “beyond the fence”.  Most people focus their attention on the “inside the fence” items, such as the new layout, fixtures, trim, appliances, paint color, etc.

This thought process is similar to what many sales teams address when doing Discovery with their customers – the sales team focuses on the items that are closely related to the features and functions of their software – existing vs. desired workflow, pain points in the current process, missing capabilities, etc.  That’s good, but we can do better…!

A great architect asks questions about the remodel customer’s “beyond the fence” items:  E.g., neighborhood and general look of the neighborhood, weather, prevailing wind and storm conditions, local traffic and typical flow, noise sources, sun arc and hours, streetlights, schools, crime, specific neighbors (and their pets/livestock), etc.  A great sales team similarly asks questions that go “beyond the fence” from typical product-specific thinking with doing Discovery.

What are example questions you might ask “beyond the fence” for your offerings?  (You might consider adding these to any existing "Discovery Documents" you already use...)

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