That title makes a big call! I’d like to clarify: the process I’m going to describe can be applied to any software development project, but it’s built on our experience and is based on projects of a certain size. We have over 10 years of experience developing apps and sites and have hundreds of apps we’ve developed live in the app store, so it’s a pretty broad base of experience.
Even so, projects that are very different from those we have experience in (e.g. multi-million dollar projects) could potentially include some extra steps and every stage that I describe here would be done in much greater depth. For the large majority of projects though, this guide will give you a solid foundational understanding of the steps you’ll go through from choosing a vendor all the way through to implementing data driven improvements to a released product.
Understanding every stage of the development process
So what does it actually take to build an app? What expectations should you have when thinking about building a mobile app (or any other project)? This is the beginning of a series of articles exploring every single step and stage of the process. I’ll walk you through the nitty gritty of everything that needs to happen from expressing your idea through to launching a product. You’ll find a list of the titles I’ve got planned at the bottom of this piece.
Reasons you might need this developing apps guide
When you need to build or develop something, it often happens that you don’t know where to start or who to talk to. Sometimes you already have contacts, but you’re not sure if they qualify for the job. Or you already talked to them, but it’s still not clear what exactly needs to happen next. What are the specific, clear steps of the process and what needs to be done now?
Perhaps you’ve even started developing an app already, but find yourself confused because the vendor doesn’t follow the process you expect. They skip some stages, which actually causes issues and leaves you overpaying in other areas (we’ll look at these nuances in detail further on in the series). If any of the above scenarios describe your case, this guide on developing apps is for you.
Where to begin?
This article is my way of starting a conversation about the way app development ought to be done. The next article will talk about what to do once you have an idea for your project. What do you need to think through before you look for a vendor? Do you need to prepare anything for that initial meeting? What are the next steps?
If you’re looking for info about a later stage in development, check the list below to find the appropriate page of the guide or to find out what topics I’m planning to cover soon. Now, let’s look at what developing apps actually involves.
App development phases:
- Project idea
- Writing a ‘brief’ or ‘functional outline’
- How to choose the right vendor
- How to compare estimates from different companies (why are they so different?)
- Proof of concept
- Minimum viable product
- Demo apps
- Rough estimates
- Detailed estimates
- Designing the UX and UI
- Understanding, mitigating and eliminating risks
- Day to day development – what is expected of me during the development process?
- Understanding which monetisation approach is right for your project
- Ensuring scalability
- App submission process
- Understanding and handling app store rejections
- App submitted, project completed, where do we go from here?
- Making data driven decisions to improve the product
- Making a global product (Localisation and more)
- Understanding time and material contracts
- Understanding fixed price contracts
A lot to get through, right? Consider this a resource to help get you through your initial app development experience. If you come across any terminology or procedures not covered in this guide, that you need to understand during the course of the app development process, let me know about them in the comments below so I can add them to this guide. Alternatively, send us an email using the contact form and we’ll be happy to help.