Just caught up with a blog post from the UK Ministry of Justice Digital team's Martin Oliver. It originally appeared on the MoJ blog as Cracking the code and content question, but was republished under a different title on Public Technology as Running your digital project - tips from MOJ Digital.
There's lots of useful advice, but I was disappointed not to see reference to using quantitative data and analysis. I think data and telling a story from its analysis are vital to content development.
Even at the discovery stage, there is usually data available to analyse from legacy or off line services which can help scope questions for further research or help with design decisions. Search analytics is a important input to content design. By analysing search keywords you can understand users' language. At the least this will help optimise the content for findability and comprehension, but can also help understand the user need, and define its scope.
Here's some data from Google's Search Console showing the variations in keywords about [sorn].(https://www.gov.uk/make-a-sorn)
And when you are in beta and then live, you'll have data from users who are 'actually using' the service. Analysing their behaviour will identify issues for user researchers to explore. Vice versa, you can explore the data to see if issues identified by researchers are replicated at volume.