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Your no-BS app development checklist

Your no-BS app development checklist

So you have done all your research, talked to your customers, checked your budget, and even settled on a software development company that you are going to work with to finally bring your idea to life.

As exciting as this might be, we want to help you ensure that you have all the essentials in place. This is exactly what we are going to do in this article.

But before you delve in, we would like to direct you to our previous articles, in order to review why you are embarking on this app development journey, ensure that you have chosen the best app type and operating system that will work for your brand and audience and that the software company you settled for was the best too.

The checklist

1. Review your why…why are you building an app?

We have already mentioned this. Please ensure that you are building an app for a well thought out reason. Don’t just build an app because your competitor is. Seriously, it might work for their audience, but won’t for yours.

Questions to consider:

  1. Will the app have a competitive edge? Or is it another ‘cool’ thing to add to your business?
  2. How does it help you achieve your overall business goals (like better customer engagement, increase in revenue, or better customer feedback)?

2. Clearly define your goal

You are going to be meeting with your developers soon, as the project owner. You want to make this meeting as successful as possible. You need to be precise.

Questions to consider:

Is it your goal the cliche SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound?

Be very specific on what you want to achieve. This will make it very easy for the developers to pick up the user stories to work towards. When you are clear, you will get the right features built. For example, you could say that ‘I want my customers to be able to pay without leaving the app’.

Do not give your developers impossible tasks. For example, ‘I want my customers to pay via a wave of the hand’. Well, the technology exists, but is it that necessary yet? Especially if they are using a smartphone?

What timelines are you looking at?

Do you have it on paper, project board, or presentation?

Well, we are all smart people, but it helps to have your goals on paper or screen. This way, you will always have a reference point for others too, when you are not there to clarify or explain something.

3. Check your budget

There are many factors that will determine the cost of your app – the type (hybrid, native or web), operating system, features, timeline, and labor (how much you are going to pay the developers/software company).

Questions to consider

Is the budget laid out by the software development company satisfactory? Is it within your means?

When your goal is clearly defined and features well laid out, you will be able to focus on core features, so that if need be that you need to revise your budget downwards, you do not throw the essentials out.

Does the budget include maintenance and upgrades?

Maintenance alone will cost you 20 to 25% of the initial development budget. Factor this in and inquire about it when you talk to the software development company.

A caveat, don’t focus on creating a perfect app. The goal should be working towards a working version, also called an MVP (a Minimum Viable Product) or prototype. If you aim for perfection, you will just be increasing the amount of time it takes to build the app, and the cost as well, as these two are in tandem.

Ensure that all stakeholders are on board

Stakeholders

Stakeholders

Questions to consider:

Did you talk to all stakeholders?

You need all stakeholders on board for the success of the app, pre and post development. Do not assume that your employees will want to download the app and test it on their phones to help with user testing after the prototype is complete.

List all the stakeholders and see if you overlooked any. Reach out if you have missed any stakeholders before development begins. You do not need sabotage after investing your time, energy, and resources into an app.

5. Consider your users

Your users/customers should be at the core of your app. They are actually among the stakeholders you should talk to, and their input should be put into serious consideration. If they say that they find it convenient to order from their phones before coming to pick up a meal, then, by all means, do offer them that option.

Questions to consider:

What app type will be best for them?

If your user demographic is younger and in less developed countries, then you might want to go for a native app, that they can use offline. This is because they might not have 24/7 internet access. If the demographic is older, then a hybrid app would be alright, as they have more internet access.

What does a great UX (user experience) look like?

You may want to have the sleekest looking app but if it takes forever to load, then that’s not good UX. Even if your demographic may be younger and want great visuals, it won’t be helpful if it sacrifices on app speed.

If you are hiring an individual developer, they may be great at backend development, and average at UI (user interface). You may want to hire an additional developer who is great at UI. Or, better still, a company with developers who are great at different things.

6. Consider app security

Questions to consider

What is does your developer’s take on security?

Ask specifically how your developer handles security in your app. What best practices or measures do they have in place? The last thing you need is exposing customer personal information or having customer’s devices hacked as your app provided an easy target for hackers.

Zero Day

Zero Day

Cybercrime, even among apps is big business – in 2019 alone, in a few months, newly identified software vulnerabilities (called Zero-Day) were valued at about $2 million for iOS and $2.5 million for Android.

7. Think post development

Once you have your MVP or prototype, you need to come up with a post development strategy.

Questions to consider

What does testing look like?

While the developers should do their best to create high quality and error-free code, they are human too and may miss something. There is internal testing that should be done during the software development cycle.

Ask about user testing too. When should this be done?

Do you plan to monetize your app?

This is important as it will also determine the features that will be included in the app, for example, ad-monetization.

Ask about maintenance

We mentioned that you need to factor in maintenance. Discuss this with your developer/software development company.

In conclusion

The app development process is by no means easy. There are a lot of stakeholders to take into account. The important thing is to ensure that before you get the first line of code written, you have gone through all the above essentials and have had them sorted.

Do you want to build an app for your brand? Contact us today for a customized solution.

About the Author
Abby Nduta
I have a way with words. Linguist turned into a digital marketer, and on her journey to becoming a backend developer.