Tag: agile

Going Agile for Mobile App Development

Before you embark on building your mobile application, it is important to consider the project management approach your prospective app developers will use. This is often an overlooked criterium for choosing the right partner, but affects the trajectory of your project massively. In this article, we make the case that the Agile approach to mobile app development is the only way to go.

What is affected when you choose the wrong approach?

Traditionally, project management revolves around the rigorous planning of every step from beginning to end. However, for app development, this ‘fixed scope’ approach is an unrealistic expectation. It is impossible to set out the roadmap for the project in its entirety since there are many points throughout the process where project pivots may occur.

Feedback from users may change the direction of the mobile application

Releasing a minimal viable product (MVP) into the marketplace should be the first place you start. Eric Ries defines it as a “version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.” In the context of app development, this means releasing an app with the one or two features that are essentials.

After this first release, rigorous feedback will be collected from users. You may choose to do this with an open or closed beta release, using app analytics and user interviews to gather the necessary feedback. It may be the case that you will need to completely change your original course of action or your feature priority will change.

After this first release, rigorous feedback will be collected from users. You may choose to do this with an open or closed beta release, using app analytics and user interviews to gather the necessary feedback. It may be the case that you will need to completely change your original course of action or your feature priority will change.

More money and time for additional features

Under a traditional project management model, changing the original scope by moving the app in a different direction or adding new features will need to be quoted for. This means that you will incur an additional cost that wasn’t anticipated. In addition, working from this fixed approach also means that you will have to extend the initial timeline set out since your app developers will need to reshuffle all the original plans to make room for the new features that need to be implemented.

Undoubtedly, time and money are two of the most valuable assets that you have, and there is no way you can afford to waste any of it. By spending more time, you are missing out on the key market advantage of being early. Diverting money to the new costs that have crept up, means compromising on other important business activities.

How is Agile Development Different?

The agile approach to project management allows you to have the flexibility to change the project’s course, whilst still retaining a well-organised way to ensure the project move along swiftly. Choosing an app developer who works in this way will allow you to avoid the pitfalls that may be encountered with app developers who operate under the notion of a ‘fixed scope’.

The agile process is focused on constant iteration and responding quickly to changes. The basic premise of agile development surrounds the idea of ‘sprints’. This divides the project into manageable parts, generally lasting two weeks. These sprints consist of tasks that are planned for the particular sprint period. These tasks relate to some particular features of the app.

How is Agile Development Different

 

Traditional project management works in a way where all features in a particular phase of development are built, then tested and then feedback is taken into account. Under the agile method of development, each feature is built, tested and reviewed iteratively. After every sprint, the team analyses the progress that has been made and can re-evaluate and re-adjust for the next sprint.

Why the flexibility of Agile development is awesome

It’s not hard to see why the agile development model is perfect for building mobile applications. Developing feature by feature opens up ample opportunity to create feedback loops, which can be factored into future sprints. Prioritisation occurs at every stage of the project – reshuffling tasks depending on what has been derived from client and customer reviews.

This flexibility means that there is a lesser chance that you’ll encounter unexpected hikes in the costs and time frames of the project. In the technology space, trends and customer behaviour shift incredibly quickly. You and your app developers need to be able to respond to this environment just as fast. The agile methodology facilitates this, without wasting time or capital. When it comes to app development, there isn’t any other way to go except agile.

 

4 Budgeting Tips for Mobile App Startups

As an entrepreneur venturing into the mobile space, you must make important financial considerations. It’s no secret that app development is a significant financial investment, so careful planning is absolutely paramount. We’ve put together some quick tips to help you get started.

Test Your Idea in the Market

“In a startup no facts exist inside the building, only opinions” – Steve Blank

You might be in love with your idea, but does the market feel the same? Before you even start budgeting, you should make sure the investment you are about to make is viable. The only way you’ll know is if you go out and ask your potential customers directly. You may want to consider conducting interviews with people within your network who you have identified as your target market. If no-one fits the description, you can use the internet to connect with people who may be suitable choices for interviewees.

You will derive the most value from interviews if you keep in mind that the purpose of conducting market research is to LISTEN to the problems and UNDERSTAND the needs of users. Since this is not an investor pitch, ensuring that your questions are non-specific to your idea is very important. An awareness about ‘confirmation bias’ is also important. This is the unconscious tendency to agree with already held beliefs. Welcome constructive criticism, it will only make your product better.

Consider Creating a Minimal Viable Product

If the potential users are showing interest in your mobile app idea, this is when you should be starting to build an app you can use to test your idea. It is recommended that you begin with the Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Building an MVP involves creating an app that only has the most essential features. You are then able to release this app to test if your app actually resonates with the market. Many successful apps, like Twitter and Foursquare, started off with this approach.

As part of your budgeting considerations, it is may also be important to keep in mind that creating for Android and iOS platforms is completely different. From a development perspective, it is double the work, therefore, double the price. It may be an option for you to build for just one platform first and invest in the other platform after you have tested your idea in the market.

Set Different Revenue Projections

First, it is important to work out HOW you will make money from your app. In-app purchases, advertising and charging a payment are the most common ways apps make money.

During the revenue projection phase, you should be looking at your sales and marketing capacities. In addition, it is important to also consider consumers and their buying patterns. How do they make decisions and how can you leverage this behaviour? Of course, being honest (and perhaps skeptical) about your capabilities will keep you level headed while you are working on your venture.

Setting modest revenue numbers is not to say that you should not think big. After creating the ‘conservative’ budget, you should also create a budget with more ambitious revenue targets. This is primarily an exercise in motivation, as you aspire to bigger goals, you work harder to achieve them. However, pragmatism should be practiced when looking at these numbers.

Consider all the services that you might require

The focus of your budget lies mostly in the expenses you will have. Some costs are often overlooked because they are non-obvious. If you make sure you cover everything, there will be less surprises while you are in the middle of app development. Below are some of the common expenses you may encounter as an app development startup.

  • User Experience and Interface Design
  • iOS Development + Additions to Project Scope
  • Android Development + Additions to Project Scope
  • App Maintenance
  • App Submission
  • Marketing (i.e. professionals and services)
  • Legal fees
  • Insurance
  • Financial Advisors

Conclusion

Having an understanding of the business side of your mobile application idea will prepare you for the road ahead. It is important to understand that there are always surprises along the way, but having a solid base will definitely help soften any unexpected costs.