Discovery 101: Common Terms in Discovery Workshops

When preparing for your next discovery workshop, it’s important to prepare your clients for success. One of the first steps is to review some of the common terms used in the workshop, therefore setting the stage for the client to be engaged and educated about the process.

At Facet, we sometimes share this list of common terms as parts of our sales or onboarding process as needed. Our focus is to share knowledge so that we can share understanding on what we will be building together.

Can you think of additional terms which are helpful to first-time discoverers? Leave them in the comments!

Common Discovery Terms

Acceptance Criteria

Conditions that a software product must satisfy to be accepted by a user, customer, or other stakeholder.

Business Rule

A policy, guideline, standard, regulation, or computational formula that defines or constrains some aspect of the business.

Context Diagram

An analysis model that depicts a system at a high level of abstraction. The context diagram identifies objects outside the system that exchange data with the system, but it shows nothing about the system’s internal structure or behavior.

Data Flow Diagram

An analysis model that depicts the processes, data stores, external entities, and flows among them that characterize the behavior of data flowing through business processes or software systems.


An item in the business domain about which data is collected and stored.

Entity-relationship Diagram

An analysis model that identifies the logical relationships between pairs of entities. Used for modeling data.


A user story on an agile project that is too large to implement in one development iteration. It is subdivided into smaller stories that each can be fully implemented in a single iteration.


A trigger or stimulus that takes place in a system’s environment that leads to a system response, such as a functional behavior or a change in state.

Event-response table

A list of the external or time-triggered events that could affect the system and a description of how the system is to respond to each event.

Feature Tree

A feature tree is a visual depiction of the product’s features organized in logical groups, hierarchically subdividing each feature into further levels of detail. The feature tree provides a concise view of all of the features planned for a project, making it an ideal model to show to executives who want a quick glance at the project scope.

Include Relationship

A construct in which several steps that recur in multiple use cases are factored out into a separate sub-use case, which the other use cases then invoke when needed.

Process Flow (AKA User Journey)

The sequential steps of a business process or the operations of a proposed software system. Often represented by using an activity diagram, flowchart, swimlane diagram, or other modeling notation.

Product Champion

A designated representative of a specific user class who supplies the user requirements for the group that he or she represents.

User Journey

See "Process Flow".

User Story

A format to capture user requirements on agile projects in the form of one or two sentences that articulate a user need or describe a unit of desired functionality, as well as stating the benefit of the functionality to the user.


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