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With more and more users moving to devices like smartphones and tablets, and phones becoming pervasive in everything we do, it’s little wonder that mobile applications are dominating the market. As we have all experienced, even popular blogs such as Medium have their own apps, e-commerce shops (think Amazon, eBay etc) to mobile banking, everything can be done (and is being done) via a mobile application.
With more and more business enterprises rolling out their new or updated versions of mobile apps into the market, it is no surprise that competition, both for consumers, and for suppliers is greater than ever.
Mobile application developers are increasingly scarce and expensive, so anybody who is about to embark on a mobile application project needs all the help they can get to ensure their projects are successful.
Furthermore, both the speed of delivery and the quality have become the benchmarks of mobile application development.
Speed of delivery, because getting late into a market is something as deadly to a business as not getting in at all, while a low-quality app, which will amass bad reviews can be a huge blow to a business.
Therefore, it is crucial to launch your app as quickly as possible into the market, without compromising at all on the quality of the project.
This poses a number of challenges.
You’ll need to be catering for several things together.
Your go to market strategy should be in place, or getting fleshed.
You need to be defining User interface wireframes are also needed.
You need to start getting user feedback even before you actually think of releasing to the general public
At the same time you need to be ensuring that the development cycles are proceeding smoothly. Frontend, backend, API integrations, testing and quality assurance.
This list goes on.
Considering all this, it is very easy to lose sight of the goal and waste a lot more time and resources than required. Below are the tips that can help boost your mobile application development projects.
1. Use Frameworks for Rapid Application Development
It might be tempting to the development team to build everything from scratch exactly as per the needs.
However, it is not always the most productive approach.
All mobile applications have several common features which are to be developed, for example, plugin integration, testing, cross-platform compatibility, etc.
Moreover, several teams have already gone through the same learning processes and have discovered “ideal ” if not perfect, ways of doing things. This is what frameworks are there for, to optimize the development process to make it efficient as possible.
Of course, there are tens of other frameworks. Your Director of Engineering or equivalent should decide with the development team what makes sense for them, then choose a framework and work with it.
The bottom line is, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, use the framework which best suits your needs to speed up the development, and you’ll save a LOT of time and effort.
2. Use an Agile Methodology for development
Agile methodology is an approach where the development is done in cycles of short sprints while introducing rapid changes and improvements according to the evolving requirements and needs.
The idea is this, rather than a long-term plan consisting of several months, you have short iterations of improvements (typically one or two weeks, to one month), such that you can change direction and adapt to changes rapidly, in an “agile ” manner.
Agile methods are excellently suited for mobile application development as the requirements WILL change pretty quickly.
Instead of developing each segment of the app separately from start to end and then testing, agile approach advocates that testing and development to be done side by side.
As a result, productivity is higher as you develop on the go through repeated feedback in cycles.
You don’t need to go back to the fully built codebase and make changes. And the constant feedback loop keeps you focused on the end-result.
3. Use Project Management Tools and Services
Mobile application development project can have several elements including, but not limited to, scope, size, time, money and resources. For the successful completion of the project, all these elements should be well planned and utilized.
A large size project with a big team working on it can be very hard to manage. The crucial part of this is that each project is a sum of several parts. And the “parts ” cannot function well if they are not aware of the “whole “.
Therefore, using a project management service becomes not just a nice-to-have, it becomes absolutely essential. It helps you to plan and divide the project into small units of tasks and stages and assign them to the individual teams and team members.
Keeping track of the development tasks and deadlines becomes easier, both of the project owners and for the team members.
As a result, scheduling and planning, team collaboration and resource management becomes a lot more productive and faster.
There are several project development tools and services. We would highly recommend opting for either a tool which your team is already familiar with, or else, a tool which caters specifically for mobile application development.
4. Hire Slow, Fire Fast
The speed of development and the quality of the product, among other factors, depends largely on the performance of the developers.
It is crucial to hire the best talent possible, a bad apple will rot your whole team, very very quickly.
Finding and hiring great developers takes time.
However, it is still better than hiring the bad ones, just because you are lacking in resources.
A developer who is not performing up to the mark affects the productivity of the entire team. In such a case, get rid of the poor performers quickly.
An understaffed team can be increased to deal with workload. A badly performing team will eat up productive team and budget making your problems larger and longer term.
Hire slow, take care that you’re picking up the good developers. There are a number of questions you might need to ask your mobile app development potential hirees, to make sure you’re making the right choices.
But if you discover that you’ve hired, non-ideal candidates for your team, let go of them quickly. It’s best for all involved.
Another approach your could take it to hire proven talent, or developers who have been already vetted for performance.
5. Done Is Better Than Perfect
With a large project, it is always possible to keep working on every small feature to the point of perfection.
However, launching a minimum viable product and getting into the market is MUCH more important.
As you can start getting feedback from the general public, you can improve upon the app depending, always using an agile methodology as highlighted above.
On the contrary, “wasting ” time on building the best possible version and then finding out that the users want something else, or that somebody has gotten to market and picked up all your potential customers is not a great position to be in.
It is a lot easier to build upon the MVP than redoing the fully built application, or having to compete harder for customers.
Get the app out of the door, asap. Have a certain level of quality you maintain, then roll it out.
The mobile application market is an absolutely dynamic industry and it is critical to adapt to the changes very quickly. The above tips, from somebody who has done this time and time again, highlight a tried and tested approach to meet every changing requirements without compromising productivity.
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David probably spends too much time geeking out on a number of influential sites, where he shares actionable, detailed advice based on his more than 15 years experience in the tech, web design and digital marketing industries. When he is not writing he is most likely working on (yet another) online project. Follow his musings on @DARTCreations.