A mobile app offers tremendous potential for efficiency, growth, increased revenue, but only if executed right. The development stage is most critical, for faulty execution can render the effort waste, and result in a dysfunctional app that impedes rather than facilitates the business.
Success in developing mobile apps requires clarity of purpose and focus, and to attain it, developers and other stakeholders need to ask some crucial questions.
1. What is the Purpose of the App?
Many times, enterprises are too caught up in the mobility hype, and develop apps just for the sake of it. Such apps may not have a specific purpose, and may actually be another version of the corporate website.
Successful apps are highly focused, catering to a specific function, purpose, or niche. Zero in on the specific purpose, or the precise problem for which the app is being developed. Consider why an app is required for the purpose, how customers may benefit out of it, and how an app can be a better option than a responsive website.
2. Who are the Key Stakeholders?
It is imperative to identify the stakeholders associated with the app upfront. Understand who owns the app, who is funding it, who will be using it, who will benefit from it, who will be responsible for the data that would keep the app functional, who would be responsible for day to day maintenance of the app, and so on. Questions such as who are the decision makers, who all are empowered for the business side of the app, and more, are also pertinent.
The success of any app depends on successful communication with the stakeholders, to understand their requirements, gain clarity on their role, and take feedback. Understanding end users enable app designers to tweak their profile, improving the power of the app considerably.
3.What is the Deadline?
The deadline to release the app is often a function of the purpose. For instance, if the app is meant for a specific sporting event or concert, the entire work becomes waste if the app is not up and running in time for the event. Even otherwise, things change in today’s fast-paced world, and tight deadlines are more the norm than the exception. Even a few days delay can make a big difference in the patronage of the app, or the app serving its intended purpose.
Related to the deadline is the release schedule. It is common enough practice to have multiple release dates for an app, with each release adding new functionality on an incremental basis. Many apps launch different versions, such as for iPhone and Android, on different dates.
4.What is the Programming Methodology?
A basic upfront requirement when it comes to creating a mobile app is creating a wire-frame, which makes explicit how the user will experience and interact with the app. The visual designs and UX is also critical and requires addressing at the very onset.
Another essential requirement is to create product backlog that enables defining and prioritizing the functional and nonfunctional requirements of the app.
Any app requires application programming interfaces, outside services and systems, and integration with third-party vendors. Research on these aspects, arrange for the necessary integration, and factor in the time taken for achieving such validations.
5.How is the App going to be Hosted?
Consider whether the app would be plugged into an existing infrastructure, or whether new infrastructure, such as hosting space, need to be provisioned.
Apps also require post-launch support for bug fixes and tweaks based on user feedback.
6. From where will the App be Downloaded?
The delivery channels of the app can impact the design of the app. For B2B and B2C apps, getting listed on Google Play and iTunes store are critical, and the requirements for listing needs to be addressed at the design and development stage.
Read this blog to get few quick tips for faster approval of iOS apps.
7. What is the Security Blueprint?
8. Are there Corporate Guidelines or other Considerations to Adhere to?
Enterprise apps may have to adhere to corporate guidelines, such as branding conventions, consistent screen design, the design of the icons, and more. The impact is mostly felt in design considerations.
9. What are the Risks Associated with the Project?
Any app development will face risks and uncertainties that could impede or even subvert the project, or at the very least let timelines go awry. A best practice is to build a risk register at the onset, and document the actions and the stakeholders responsible for the action, for each risk factor.
10. What is the Budget?
The budget is often overlooked when it comes to developing mobile apps, and a major reason is the difficulty in estimating one. With the fragmented mobile marketplace, there are too many variables at play, including multiple operating systems, different testing environments, and more.
Also, an app project goes much beyond the coding and compilation. It involves several critical components such as researching for the app, undertaking competitor analysis, designing an intuitive UX, and more, and all these tasks can influence the budget in a big way. There are also hosting costs, on-going optimization of the app when in use, costs for push notification services, costs for scaling the back end as the user base grows, and more.
The possibilities are endless, but the budget brings in a reality check. The trick is to optimize the possibilities within the constraints of the available budget.
There is no one-size-fits-all method in developing a mobile app. The best approach is customising the process to suit the client. It requires the services of a seasoned and experienced partner who knows to ask the right questions, and guide the client to get the right answers as well. We are competent in this front, having successfully developed a diverse range of mobile apps for many clients, cutting across industries. Contact us now and kick-start your enterprise app development process.
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