Why we do on-site discovery meetings

Why we do on-site discovery meetings

“There’s nothing like getting people together in a room.”

This is an oft-repeated phrase here at Agathon. We’ve found it to be true time and time again, whether it’s getting the team together for a team retreat or participating in an on-site discovery workshop with clients.

We recently spent time with Jon Cameron and Sarah Bianchi from the Parkside Church Communications Team. The goal: to brainstorm and strategize for an upcoming website redesign. We’ve been partnering with Parkside for close to six years now, and this isn’t the first time we’ve visited them on site. But as we kick off a new project together, this on-site discovery meeting was as invaluable as it was with the first project.

Team members look at the mood board cards as part of this exercise
Jon, Sarah, & Kedron work through a mood board exercise

Let’s look at a few of the reasons why an on-site discovery meeting is such an important part of our process:

1. It provides an opportunity for stakeholders to come together and spend focused time on the upcoming project

With day-to-day responsibilities competing for attention, it can be hard for clients to give a new project the attention it needs to get off of the ground well. Scheduling an on-site brings together stakeholders from both the client organization and our team for focused workshop sessions.

So setting apart this time and having the time and the capacity to focus on a project with an outside group actually helps us gain some new perspective. And it gives us the opportunity to think about our site in a way that—because we’re so entrenched in our own understanding of what our site needs to do—we are not able to bring an outside perspective. So it’s really helpful to have the Agathon team on site for that.

Sarah Bianchi, Project Manager & Graphic Designer

2. It allows us to work through various discovery exercises together.

Whether it’s creating an empathy map, reviewing user personas, refining a mood board, or something else, spending time in person and working through these exercises together helps clarify and refine the vision for the project. Many also have a physicality to them—we’re arranging stickies on a wall or sketching wireframe concepts on paper. Sure, there are remote tools to help with these exercises. But in our experience, they just aren’t the same.

3. It helps us understand the client’s objectives, goals, and values at a deeper level.

Our team is fully remote, and we believe you can communicate effectively even from a distance using tools like Slack, Google Meet, Basecamp, and email. But spending a day or two together in person allows for a deeper understanding than these asynchronous tools allow. While something like Google Meet or Zoom allows for a concurrent conversation, those calls tend to lack the quantity of time an in-person meetings allows for.

This time together isn’t just about discussing goals and to-do lists for the project. It also gives us an intimate insight into what makes the organization tick. This allows us to better encapsulate who they are in the design and development phase of the project.

And interestingly, what happens when we spend time on site with Agathon is that they understand us better and they’re able to make that web experience much more indicative of who we are as people—what we’re like, what we care about, and what someone who wants to engage in Parkside can expect and what they can look forward to.

Jon Cameron, Pastor of Communications

4. It provides an opportunity for us to set priorities together.

Again, you can set priorities through phone calls. But there’s something about the deep dive into those priorities over the course of a couple days that enables us to identify primary, secondary, and tertiary concerns. That ongoing conversation allows us to ask questions and offer feedback as we work through prioritization so we’re all on the same page.

5. It helps us determine next steps with the client.

With a clear understanding of the objectives, goals, and values an organization has as well as a priority list we can all agree on, the final stage of an on-site discovery meeting is to determine next steps. In most cases, the next step is a detailed proposal based on the decisions we’ve made together during the on-site, followed by a timeline for wireframes, prototypes, and other milestones.


On-site discovery meetings provide the foundation for a successful project. They allow our team to come together with product owners and stakeholders from a client organization to clarify the vision and goals for a project. Together we can make decisions about the work through exercises that will impact the design, usability, and function of a website or app.

Ready to strategize for your next design or development project? Contact us today to learn more about our discovery process!

Why we do on-site discovery meetings

Mandi Ehman

Director of Marketing at Agathon
With 10 years of experience as a professional blogger—and as a former Agathon hosting client herself—Mandi’s passionate about the good work Agathon does and sharing that message with more people.
Mandi Ehman

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