Mobile apps are a part of everyday life. From alarms in the morning to games and books at night, our lives are organized and managed by mobile apps. This usefulness has been adapted into business, as mobile makes life easier for customers, vendors, and employees. But what makes a mobile app successful? For every great idea, only a few become great apps.
Here is a guide to help ensure your idea develops into a successful mobile application.
Start With Your Internal Team
The internal people required to make the project a success is an important consideration for a successful mobile application development project. The appropriate human capital internally can greatly increase the chance of success in terms of implementing a project on time and on budget.
Depending on the size of the project, a small team of people whose second focus, apart from their day job, is to assist with the project is required. This could include a project owner and representatives from IT, marketing, etc. Since a mobile development project is customized to a company’s needs, it requires regular communication with members of the internal team to ensure success.
When a company fails to set up an appropriate internal team, lapses in communication and missed deadlines can occur. Create an internal team to save both time and money.
Ask The Right Questions to Build A Plan
Once the internal team is in place the next step is to pull together a plan for the project. Before you can really begin, your team should be able to answer the following questions about your project.
- What is the core purpose of the mobile application?
- What functionality does it need?
- What is the budget for the project?
- What is the timeline for the project?
The team should also narrow down the details of the end users of the mobile application. The more information the team can pull together about who will be using it and how, the more likely the app will be successful in its purpose. This is good advice for both internal applications employees will use and external applications for customers and vendors.
Constantly referring back to the app’s core function and users will help to prevent costly bells and whistles that may look cool, but have no practical application. Throughout the project you should always be able to point to any function and ask yourself, “How does this serve my core function?” and “How will this be used by the intended audience?”
Partnering with Your External Team
Once the internal team has its initial plan put together, it is time to seek out the right custom application development company to help you tackle your project. This can be a big undertaking, but don’t let it scare you.
Go with the company that can answer ALL of your questions in a manner that makes you feel comfortable… before you sign a contract with them.
Neither the internal nor the external team can implement a successful mobile application development project on their own. The right company will view the relationship as a partnership with your company. Take the time to get to know them. What does their track record look like? How many custom mobile application success projects have they been a part of? As technology and your company’s needs evolve, you need to know that they will be there in future years.
The Fun Begins: Visualize Your Project
Once you have chosen your external mobile app development team, the real fun begins. So much of the hard work in bringing a mobile app to fruition is about navigating the scope of the project. A good software development team should bring their own experience to the table, and apply that experience to your existing plan helping navigate the scope of a project in the context of the timeline and budget.
Putting together a detailed plan is important, but not the only step to ensure that everyone is on board. Sometimes people can have a very different perspective on the same thing. This is where visualization can really help to ensure everyone is on the same page.
In order to best visualize your project, it is best to get all of your plans fleshed out. Some people may call it wireframing, while others may call it storyboarding. The purpose of this step is to map out every button, screen, function and every piece that will make up your mobile app. This step is surprisingly efficient in rooting out superfluous additions to your app and it can highlight any inconsistencies in your communication.
Take for example a profile screen. It is simple enough to require one, but what does that mean? What does it need to look like? What type of information is required? Where does it need to go? There are many options. Good communication ensures that the options make sense for the project and help everyone understand why each option is important.
The Real MVP – Minimum Viable Product
Together, the two teams should flesh our the MVP – Minimum Viable Product. This is the basic product that is launched with the intentions of monitoring user feedback and implementing updates that improve the software later on.
At this point, your internal team takes a deep dive into the plan as a vital step that will help to set the expectations for both teams. Your internal team should come to the table with the target audience and the minimum functionality that your app needs in order to be considered successful. The external team can recommend best practices, then apply their experience to architect the application. They can then build an implementation plan and timeframe, and set responsibilities and deadlines for all involved.
After this step, the scope of the project should be absolutely clear. If the step to build the plan is the rough road map, then this step is the detailed version with every pit stop, refueling and scenic point of interest identified along the way. At the end of this step, both teams will have a crystal clear picture of where to find success on the project, with a map to guide the way.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
Hit the gas and don’t let up… This is where the rubber meets the road. Ensure everyone is doing their part with weekly or biweekly check-ins and previews of the MVP app. At least once a month, check the progress of the app against the plan and scope to make sure you are on course.
The most important part of a successful mobile app project is open and clear communication. There is no detail too small, no perspective too unimportant. In order to successfully navigate the complicated job of custom app development, it is crucial to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
The Bottom Line…
Building a mobile app can be a challenge. If you assemble your teams, build a plan, don’t try to build everything for everyone and over communicate, your project has a much greater chance for success.
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Tom Swip has been developing and streamlining business processes for over 20 years. Tom’s expertise lies in business process automation, software and application design and network infrastructure. In his spare time, Tom likes kayaking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.