A Guide to Managing the App Development Process

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Managing the app development process can be very tricky, luckily this guide is here to help. This guide provides a framework and some advice to help you more effectively manage the application development process.

1. Market Research

Before you begin any other app development process, you first need to conduct market research. This market research will, essentially, validate your idea by showing you there is a market for the type of app you are developing. Market research is essential as it will help to inform your practices and strategy.

It is an uncomfortable reality that out of every 10,000 mobile applications that are developed only one will become successful. That is why it is vitally important to do your market research before you invest time and money in developing your application. Once you have determined that there is a market for your application, you can then begin the planning process.

2. Strategy

Once you have completed your market research you can begin to create a strategy for your application development process. The first step to forming an application development strategy is to conduct even more research. You will want to identify and learn about the intended users for the application. To do this you will need to outline who your target audience is and gather as much information as you can about them. Some businesses find it useful to create a customer profile to which they can assign their target audience’s characteristics too. The more you know about your target audience the better, as this understanding will inform everything you do in the app development process.

The next form of research you will need to conduct for your application development strategy is competitor research. This might at first sound the same as market research but the two are distinct. In market research, your aim is to discover the demand and place for your application within the market. With competitor research, your focus is on learning more about who your competition is and how they define their brand. The more that you learn about your competition the better able you are to distinguish your brand and your application.

Once you have finished the research you need to complete, you can then move onto the next part of creating your strategy which is: defining your goals. You need to outline the objectives you have with your application and the aims of this project. Your goals and your objectives are two distinct categories. Your objectives refer more toward your intentions with the application itself, whereas your goals describe the intended commercial success you aim to have with this application.

You will also need to decide which mobile platform you are designing your application for. Any other technical requirements for your application can also be briefly outlined at this stage.

3. Planning

Once you have completed all the necessary research and outlined your strategy, you can begin the planning stage. This is the point at which the intentions for your project begin to take shape.

The first step to the planning phase is to identify the skills that you will need to create your application. You need to work out if you can build this application using an existing team or if you will need to outsource some work. If for example, you are planning on building an application that will be compatible with both iOS and Android you will need staff that are familiar with both operating systems. If you need to outsource work, it is a good idea to begin looking for staff now so that you do not end up wasting time later down the line. It is important to remember that if you outsource work you should get new workers to sign an NDA to protect your application.

Next, you will need to compose an action plan for your application development process. It is useful to create a of set aims or milestones that can be used to track progress. Break down tasks as much as possible so it is easier to manage the development process. You will also want to assign tasks early on to effectively manage ongoing development.

4. Choose a Name For Your Application

Once you have completed your market research and your planning phase you can begin looking for a name for your application. Mobile application names are similar to business names, in that they need to be unique. It is a good idea to check to see if your intended name is available early on, to ensure your working title is realistic.

5. Make Your Mock-Ups

You can now begin the process of developing your mobile application. The first step is to draw up some designs of how your app is going to look and function. Some developers prefer to create wireframes, which are digital sketches. This step will help you to visualize the aesthetics and user experience of your application.

Once you have refined these initial sketches and come to a consensus on characteristics like user experience, aesthetics, style and application architecture you can create the final mock-ups. The high-quality mock-ups will enable you to finalize your application design.

6. Create a Prototype

Once you have come to an agreement based on the mock-ups you can begin to create a prototype of your application. While this can be a time-consuming process it is highly valuable. A prototype offers you the opportunity to test the application’s functionality and design and allows you to perfect your application before beginning development.

7. Managing Application Development

Once you have perfected the prototype your application can go into the development stage. Managing application development can be very difficult as it requires you to stay on top of a range of different processes and team members. Managers should use all the tools they have at their disposal to make this process easier. Using a Slack alternative for team communication can be very useful as the open-source software allows you to modify the service to meet your needs. You might also want to use task management software to visualize the progression of the development process.

The most important thing to remember when managing an application development process is that communication is key. You should keep checking in with all team members to find out how they are progressing.

8. Testing

Once your application has been developed it is time to begin testing. There are various forms of testing your application should undergo before it can be released, these include:

  • Quality assurance testing
  • User experience testing
  • Functional testing
  • Performance testing
  • Security testing
  • Platform testing

Your application must have good results in all forms of testing before it can be considered ready for launch. Remember that it is more costly to launch and recall an application than to delay an application launch date.

9. Marketing

Before you launch your application, it is a good idea to do some form of marketing. Most application developers tend to focus on digital marketing and use a range of different practices. When you are coming up with your marketing strategy it is a good idea to remember your target audience. You should only market on channels that are relevant to your target audience.

10. Launch

Before the launch date, you will need to submit your application to the iOS Google or Android app stores. It is a good idea to submit your application a little while before your launch date as it can take a few days for an app store to review an application.

When you launch your app, you can monitor your engagement and rates of sale through the application store. It is a good idea to try to encourage users to leave feedback as this information can prove invaluable when you come to improve and upgrade your application.