Articles / Discovery workshop agenda

You’ve sold your product or service into a client. They’ve trusted you enough to get you in to look at what they need, and are paying you to work through a process to help them understand their next steps.

Normally, what I’d do in this situation is to run a face-to-face discovery workshop - led by your solutions architect or consultant.

This has a three-fold aim:

  1. To build excellent relationships across both teams
  2. To end up with a shared understanding of what is to be achieved
  3. To develop a shared understanding of how that will be achieved

Sometimes a workshop like this will just last a day, but often it’s longer. Much depends on the complexity of the project. But the critical thing is it must be face-to-face. Whilst it’s tempting to do this virtually, you will find that this causes major problems further down the line, as you just won’t have the quality of relationship needed to solve problems together.

So here’s how I run things - remembering that this is a generic agenda, and is likely to need adapting for specific circumstances.

There are all sorts of ways to run through this agenda. My approach is to try to make it as interactive as possible, using group work exercises to get people talking and thinking.

Item Expected outcomes Leader

Set the scene

Agreement on the agenda

Supplier team


Who is in the room?
Why are they here?
What are they expecting from the workshop?

Supplier team

What are the problems we're here to solve?

NB. Don't skimp on this - it's important!

Background to the project
What hasn't worked in the past?
What is the client expecting this project to achieve?
How will the client know the project has achieved its aims?

Client team

Project vision statement

An agreed 2 sentence statement of the form:

For: «target user»
Who: «needs»
The: «product name»
Is a: «product category»
That: «product benefit.»
This supports my company strategy to «insert name or description of strategy»

Supplier team

Product capabilities

A shared understanding of the existing capabilities of your product or service

Supplier team

User journeys

What will the users do?
Where will the data come from?
Where does data need to go to?

Supplier team


Map out the integration points with other systems
What data needs to be transferred?
When does the data need to be transferred?
How will the data get transferred?

Supplier team

Identify items for work

A list of key functional areas that need to be developed
A list of key functional areas that need to be configured

Supplier team

Project approach

A shared understanding of how the project will be managed (eg. Waterfall, Kanban, Scrum
A shared understanding of roles and responsibilities

Supplier team

Identify priorities

All the items from the lists of work items in order of importance to the client

Supplier team

All the Discovery outputs should be created, written up and agreed during the Discovery workshop. This saves time in the long run, as everyone is engaged and committed to the outputs.

What you then have is a set of work packages (agile: epics or user stories), which can be estimated (Agile) or costed (Waterfall) in order to move on to the next stage of the project.

If you need help to run your next Discovery workshop - either as a client or a supplier please get in touch.

Posted: 17 May 2017

Tags: Projects