If are ready to work on your app, it’s time to translate all your ideas into a tangible product. Devising a solid development plan will allow you to see how much resources will have to be invested in order to complete the project. Remember: time is money!
There is no universal answer to the question of how long it takes to build an app because not all apps have the same purpose and functionality. There are, however, a few key phases that will undoubtedly be a part of any development process. Each one of these stages includes key factors that can also have an impact on the project duration. Understanding them and their elements will help you come up with a realistic development timeframe, while allowing you to build an app that provides a memorable and compelling user experience. This will ultimately bring more value to your users.
Stage 1: Planning
To build a successful app, you need to carefully map all areas of the development process, including: target audience, platform, key features and monetization strategy (if applicable). Having your app hit the mark requires that you have a strong project scope from the very onset. Take a look at some of our previous articles for more on the planning phase.
Stage 2: UI/UX Design
The key to successful UI /UX design is always keeping in mind your end user and not focusing solely on your product, service or business need. You will also be required to clearly state the type of experience that you will provide to the users according to their needs and wants. In addition, it is integral that you describe any key functional elements that will be part of the app, as well as establishing a metric to measure its quality and performance.
Stage 3: Development
Decisions will have to be made regarding whether you want your app to be focused on a specific platform or cross-platform. This will determine the tools and resources that will be needed in the development process. When making this decision, it is best to consider everything from the mobile app ecosystem to the backend services that will support your product. This will aid you in thinking about how these will be implemented by the development team.
Stage 4: Testing / QA
By this stage, a prototype should be already completed in order to start testing its performance and pinpoint any potential bugs that will need to be addressed before the official launch. This step is crucial so that you can ensure a first experience with your customers that will be as smooth as possible. It’s understandable that the app could have a few bugs when it first comes out, but your development team should be able to ensure a robust first iteration of the product.
Stage 5: Deployment
In this final phase the first version of your app should be ready to be launched. This stage also includes how you’re planning to market the app once it’s launched. As mentioned before, having an effective promotion strategy can be the difference between a failing app and a complete success. You need to make sure that people who are potential users know about the existence of your app and are organically promoting it by both using it and sharing it with other people.
These core stages are needed for the development of your project and are likely to consume most of your resources. Nevertheless, keep in mind that due to the ever changing nature of the mobile app ecosystem, mobile app development doesn't simply stop at deployment. It's likely that multiple development cycles will have to be implemented, each one of them including feedback from your users that could be used to make changes to the end product and improve the overall experience.
In the end, managing all of these elements as a whole, instead of many separate pieces, will help you build a solid time frame and come up with reliable estimates of the resources that will be used for the completion of your app. Modifying a launch date that has already been established could have very damaging consequences to your product, so it's better to take the time to plan everything in advance and ensure a successful launch.