What is discovery document?

The purpose of a Discovery Document is to gather and document essential information to ensure that the project team, stakeholders, and relevant parties have a clear and common understanding of what needs to be accomplished and how to achieve it.

Here are some key aspects of a Discovery Document:

[Project/Product Name] Discovery Document


  • Purpose: A brief overview of the document's intent and what the discovery process aims to achieve.
  • Scope: Define the boundaries and limitations of the discovery process.
  • Stakeholders: List the key individuals or groups involved in the project.

Project/Product Overview

  • Background: Provide a concise history or context for the project/product.
  • Goals and Objectives: Clearly state the primary objectives and desired outcomes.
  • Success Criteria: Define the metrics or criteria that will determine the success of the project.

Stakeholder Analysis

  • Key Stakeholders: Identify all individuals, teams, or organizations with a vested interest in the project.
  • Roles and Responsibilities: Describe the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.
  • Communication Plan: Outline how and when stakeholders will be engaged and updated.

Problem Statement

  • Current Challenges: Identify the issues or problems that the project aims to address.
  • Opportunities: Highlight the opportunities that can be leveraged.
  • Constraints: Specify any limitations or constraints that need to be considered.

User Needs and Requirements

  • User Personas: Create detailed user personas that represent the target audience.
  • User Stories: Describe specific scenarios and user stories to understand user needs.
  • Functional Requirements: List the essential functionalities and features required.

Technical Requirements

  • Infrastructure: Document the technical infrastructure, platforms, and tools to be used.
  • Security: Specify security and compliance requirements.
  • Integration Points: Identify any external systems or services that need to be integrated.

Project Timeline

  • Milestones: Define key project milestones and their estimated dates.
  • Dependencies: List any dependencies that could impact the project timeline.
  • Resource Allocation: Describe the allocation of resources, such as team members and budget.

Risk Assessment

  • Risk Identification: Identify potential risks that could affect the project.
  • Risk Analysis: Evaluate the impact and likelihood of each risk.
  • Risk Mitigation: Outline strategies to mitigate or manage identified risks.

Budget and Resource Allocation

  • Budget Plan: Detail the budget allocation for the project, including cost estimates.
  • Resource Plan: Specify the human and material resources needed.

Next Steps

  • Action Plan: Provide a step-by-step plan for moving forward after the discovery phase.
  • Key Deliverables: List the deliverables to be produced as a result of this discovery.


  • Summary: Recap the main points covered in the discovery document.
  • Sign-off: Obtain approval or feedback from relevant stakeholders.


  • Include any supplementary information, references, or data that supports the document.

Discovery Documents are particularly important for complex projects, where understanding the requirements and constraints at the outset can significantly impact the success of the project. They help ensure that all stakeholders have a shared vision of the project, reducing misunderstandings, scope changes, and risks. Discovery Documents are living documents and may be updated as the project progresses and more information becomes available.

Download example discovery doc 

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Maciej Dulski

Maciej Dulski
Senior Business Consultant

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