Developing a custom mobile app for your business can seem overwhelming at first, but there are many practical principles to help your project get off on the right foot. When you work with the right team and have specific goals in mind, you may find that it’s easier to keep things on track—not to mention the time you can save by getting things right the first time.
The following 6 tips are basic principles behind agile development, but they apply in many situations, related to custom mobile app development or otherwise!
1. Results-Driven Objectives
You want your app to deliver specific functionality to prospective customers. Understanding that functionality, the overall usability, and the integration with your marketing plan for your mobile app is essential for starting the development process.
Prepare for the mobile app development process by determining the results you need from the app, determining any other software changes you may want to integrate into the deployment process, and then create a list of the programming results needed to achieve those goals.
For example, you may need to build a database and integrate that database with your existing accounting and CRM software systems, and then design a user app and web interface that work together with that database to create a fluid system.
2. Choose Your Process
The entire mobile app development process either conforms to a time-saving pattern, or it doesn't. The first principle to understand is that you can commit to a process that has been shown to save time, or not commit and spend large amounts of time relearning time-saving systems.
To start this process, you will have to ask yourself some fundamental questions regarding the purpose of your software and how it fits into your business plan.
In order to have an agile process, you need an image of the final product fixed in your mind, because it drives all other processes. This does not mean that your image will be absolute or 100% correct, but that you will have a guiding goal for the development of your app.
3. Team Self-Management
A well-functioning team is one of the most valuable parts of saving time in development, especially mobile apps. Before you hire a developer, understand who your team is and take time to ensure that they will be able to work with your developers’ team.
This way, much of your time will be saved from having to constantly forward information to the appropriate team member.
4. Regular Incremental Reviews
Since agile development is based on the idea of building smaller increments of shippable product, it requires regular reviews and planning times to understand how goals have been met so far, how they are changing and what adjustments the team or management need, if any.
For your mobile app, this saves time because you have the potential to see, experience and review your app as it develops, as opposed to waiting until you have a final product.
5. Build Shippable Product
Rather than creating a large mobile app from the start, break down the process into incremental steps that can be delivered as a part of your current business systems or as a stand-alone product.
For example, if a part of your planned app is to create an ordering platform for your online store, start with developing an interface for your existing website that integrates the new database, shopping cart and accounting system. Then, after you have tested and shipped the back-end for your mobile app, you can focus on designing the user interface and testing various smartphone operating systems.
6. Communicate Extensively
The process of developing and deploying your mobile app is going to require many revisions because of many unseen hurdles along the way. Your app development team needs to communicate extensively with each other, as well as have regular methods of communication with you. The methods of communication you use need to have boundaries so that you are both accessible and not the decision-maker for every activity in the process.
In the end, many of the same philosophies of good website development apply to the process of developing a mobile app. By keeping your goals in mind throughout the planning and production process, as well as teaming up with folks who know how to keep a project agile and efficient, you will turn out an end-product that can succeed and grow even better over time.