How To Build A Mobile App – P. 3 – Development & Release
This is part 3 of How To Build a Mobile App series.
There are a few ways on how you can approach it, and all of them are highly dependent on your goals, and resources.
Generally, we do not recommend spending more than 50% of your overall investment on development.
You will need to pay yourself, people around, and of course promote your app in the future.
So now, instead of asking a developer or agency straight away “how much will it cost?”, the better way is to share openly the budget you are ready to invest.
In this case, a developer is able to calculate how to approach the MVP, and how to continue the development after.
MVP is short of Minimum Value Product. It’s a raw and very basic model of your app.
Just don’t confuse it with a mockup. It’s raw, but it’s working and ready to deliver the basics.
Decide here what is the minimum value you can give users, so they still find it useful and are able to fulfill the main need. All additional functions and designs can be executed later.
The reason you build an MVP is to check how your audience will respond to the core functionalities without a need to make an expensive and time-consuming investment.
The truth is, even if you did all the market research and reach a product-market fit, your plan could be still too optimistic in the face of reality.
By releasing an MVP, you protect yourself from building and investing in something that nobody will use in the real world. And this is what you need the most – to get real-life feedback from users.
Instead of hiring anyone, you can obviously use an app generator just by yourself, like BuildFire, GooBarber, Swiftic, or MobAppCreator, but building an app like that isn’t as easy as they advertise it, and you may find yourself frustrated as well as overpaying for the functionalities.
So let’s search for a partner in this crime.
If you are planning a startup and you don’t have much of technical experience, the best and absolutely most efficient option is to find a technical co-founder. If you have an opportunity to onboard one – don’t think twice.
First of all, that’s the best financial option, as you are about to build the business together, invest together, and ultimately – share your incomes.
This is why a co-founder will probably work his butt off to make things happen as quickly as possible, and for as long as it will be needed to deliver the best possible results, and what you need the most – a well-made MVP.
Second, the level of engagement will also force him to push for constant improvements and search for the best and most efficient ways to build the app.
Don’t get me wrong. You can find ambitious freelancers as well, and obviously, agencies will deliver a great job, but it will cost you way much more, and you won’t always be able to push buttons to force things to happen.
Remember, no one ever will work on your product as hard, as another owner, and he will be like a father looking out for his daughter day in, day out.
He will probably take care of the scaling process as well, and he will know how to build your internal dev team if it’s needed. I also highly recommend building it, btw. We have a few tips on how to manage it:
You can find technical co-founders on pages like:
Last, but not least, we recommend finding a technical co-founder, or a CTO on demand, even if you are planning to outsource the development to the agency, or searching for a freelancer.
This way, you can move the development responsibilities to your partner and focus on other crucial parts of the business, as well as general management.
The world is full of freelancers.
The price range is really wide and juniors from exotic countries are ready to work almost for free, which is tempting, but in my opinion, should be avoided if you head for quality and less headache.
However, you can find a lot of great freelancers as well.
You can find them on:
Yet, some of them may appear better salespeople than developers.
Avoid “we do everything” proposals, or suspicious “we have 2000 developers in the pool”.
Probably none of them have any idea about how your business works, what you really need, or what you should really go for.
They will just ask “what to do”, they will do it quickly, and ask for money.
If you have any remarks, they will fix 10% of them, then ask for money again. If you have too many remarks or ask them again to do what you want, they may just hang up, and never answer again.
This is why we recommend working with freelancers that are experts in a specific niche. Masters in their area, or technology with a proven record and clear payment and delivery scope.
We wrote a quite detailed article on how to search for a good React Developer:
If your technical co-founder is the one that will work the hardest, the agency will be probably the second one.
Another great thing about working with an agency is that once you know you can trust them, you can scale up and down your development resources, on-demand.
This is the way how Team Augmentation works as well.
While general project outsourcing is more about letting people do the whole stuff, Team Augmentation is when you just hire developers, or teams, on-demand, for a particular job to be done, and that’s it.
You have no additional responsibilities regarding any employees, and you can totally focus on maximizing your product value, while the team is taking care of itself.
It also appeared to be more cost-efficient, as you may discover here:
However, choosing the right agency may appear challenging as well.
Take too small, and you will have to babysit them and invest in micromanagement.
Take too big, and there is a risk they won’t put enough effort, as they have bigger and more juicy projects to do.
Choosing the right agency
A problem is that a professional look is something just too easy to have nowadays.
Today marketing is more overwhelming and easier to apply than ever. You can just go on the internet, make a nice logo for free, another free tool will make you an outstanding proposal, and another will help you send emails to potential customers.
All this makes you look professional only with a slightly little effort and is able to cover lack of development skills.
This is why we came up with a bunch of different questions to say “check!” to any suspiciously good-looking software house with not so proven record.
You will work together to make your business dream come true, so choose wisely.
“Wise” may seem to be a typical plus/minus calculation, but it is not.
Of course, you want skilled and professionals, but everyone is skilled and professional.
Really, you will probably be choosing between someone who is able to provide the same set of development skills, so what you want here is some common “understanding of mutual feelings” more than a skillset.
Mistakes are almost inevitable. You will go through feedback, harder moments, etc.
Whatever it will be, you should be feeling good with each other. There needs to be chemistry, so you know even if the hard moment will come, you will be able to overcome them.
I know, sounds Tony Robbins, but it is just way much more fun to do stuff with people you like, than someone who you feel uncomfortable with.
Make no mistake, this is not about just liking someone. You may also like someone totally useless, yet it won’t take you to the place you want to be.
You should feel that you can rely on each other and talk to each other openly.
I really do recommend having a chemistry call. This makes our work way much easier and more fun.
Scope of work
A “scope” is a document of what needs to be done in order to deliver the end result.
Based on this scope, project management prepares the schedule, budget, and resources, together with the people involved in the execution.
Every task should have a calculated time frame (with additional time for the unpredicted delay) and cost calculation (with the extra cost in case of unexpected obstacles).
After that, people can start the execution step by step, up until the delivery.
If there are no additional demands, it’s quite normal for the project to meet the deadline, or be ready even before.
If it’s not, you may experience something called “scope creep”.
But you can also learn how to avoid it in another article:
It is also good to set up weekly or monthly goals that should be achieved or revised from time to time.
With a good scope of work, it’s easy peasy, but you cannot predict the unpredictable.
You set the milestones and keep it updated with the agency. If something goes wrong, or something unpredictable hits the project, you are still able to rearrange the work, with less harm for the further plan of action.
Managed well, with common respect and professional attitude, you made yourself an app.
As you know, development is just an actual beginning.
Going with your app live can also immediately uncover many bugs and gather a lot of useful feedback.
But to make sure you won’t hurt yourself more than needed, and won’t burn any users, we recommend the first set of tests to be done internally with your team. You will probably find a lot of user experience issues, as well as bugs.
If you work with the agency, they will probably cover the testing part, but to make sure, have it in your plan as well.
You can also use the help of many interesting tools, like UserTesting or UberTesters.
After that, your app is ready to go on an adventure in the real world.
Still, before you go live, you need to go over guidelines made by Android and Apple, and again, the agency should do that for you, and again, have it in your plan just in case.
If this is fixed, finally, it’s time. You made it.
Your app is ready to meet the market.
There are a couple of questions you need to think about from a sales and marketing perspective.
- How are you going to promote your app?
- How can you answer your future user’s questions?
You also need to think about marketing techniques, like having a blog that addresses your users’ pain points, or how you’re going to handle email marketing if you decide to do it.
Learn something from your competitors.
- What channels they’re using to promote their apps.
- Maybe you could use influencers?
- How will you entice people to leave you good reviews?
When putting together your marketing strategy, think about both online and offline marketing.
Use Analytics (retention, boosting users)
If you’re setting up your app ‘s website for longevity, use data.
Your analytics will give you a wealth of information about how many people use your app, and where do they come from.
You can find many tools that will help you analyze the exact behavior of your visitors. Based on that, you will have more insight into what users are doing with your app, and how to boost them.
Get even more feedback
Client is always right from a business perspective. Period. You may hate it, but you have to admit it.
Don’t get angry, or feel down if someone doesn’t fully like what you did.
Learn from it instead.
Hide emotions and be professional. Take the feedback as an opportunity to make things better, and make them better.
Provide a platform for feedback so you can learn what your users want.
People are ready to forgive if you will fix and make things even better.
On the other side, you will also face mean people that just nag about everything all the time, so don’t forget to use your own judgment as well.
You simply cannot make everyone happy. Forget that.
As you see building an app is just a part of the business making process.
You may feel the temptation that once you build it physically, all the rest will come, and people will love it and use it.
I suggest you be more ready to fight for clients constantly by searching for new ones, and improving the experience of the ones you already have.
The truth is that the moment you build your app is just the beginning of something much bigger.
And in order to make your app successful, you will have to spend a lot of your time on business development.
In many cases, it’s a great lifetime adventure.
If you’d like to get started, but you feel you could use the help of someone who’s been there with the setup, I’m more than happy to assist.
Ready to build your own app?