CTO Project Stages
The Discovery stage is where all our projects begin. During this stage, we learn about our users and what they need. We identify whether a solution already exists or can be expanded to satisfy users’ needs. We don’t actually start building anything yet because this stage focuses entirely on our users and their needs.
At the end of the Discovery stage, we will decide one of the following:
- We should develop a new product to satisfy users’ needs
- A solution already exists, so we can direct users to use that solution
- A new product cannot be developed for various reasons (e.g., policy, cost, or technology constraints)
The Alpha stage is where we start building a concrete product. We take the user stories that we developed in the Discovery stage, and start building a proof-of-concept product. This is a minimal product that users can actually use and provide feedback on. A fast iterative cycle means we continually improve the proof-of-concept and frequently present it to the users for testing.
At the end of the Alpha stage, we will determine whether or not the proof-of-concept represents a viable product that has the potential to satisfy users’ needs. If so, we take the product into Beta.
During the Beta stage, we expand on the proof-of-concept to build a functional prototype. The prototype will be put to the test by a limited subset of users performing real work with the product. The prototype will actually integrate with other systems and provide the full range of functionality that the users require. In this stage, we continue to use a fast iterative cycle to integrate user feedback into the product.
During the live stage, we scale the product to serve the entire community of users. Reaching this stage does not mean we are done, however. It is crucial to continue monitoring user feedback, learning from analytics, and keeping up to date on trends that may affect how the product serves its users.