Proper Management of Mobile Application Projects for Success

As mobile devices have become more powerful and ubiquitous, more organizations and firms are looking into ways that mobile application development can be leveraged. Some firms are interested in creating apps that will be a direct source of income by selling apps, especially those in the software development industry. The larger majority are interested in apps for branding, marketing, sales and loyalty purposes. An example of this would be a pharmaceutical company creating an app for physicians to evaluate speakers. This not only helps them determine what information the physicians deem important but helps with branding as physicians who use the app will know of the pharmaceutical firm. In addition, ads or specific content (events, articles etc.) can be pushed to the app for marketing purposes especially if it is free.

Due to seeing cases of individual developers who create wildly successful apps as a hobby for different mobile platforms, you may be tempted to think that mobile application development is easy: it is not. For every one such app you read or hear about, a hundred more fail, some complete but are poorly marketed while others don’t even reach the completion phase. So what are some of the factors that ensure mobile app development projects succeed and those common to the projects that fail?

Mobile Application Development Success Factors

For an app development project to be successful, proper software development methodologies must be followed. Developing a custom app such as an evaluation app for physicians differs significantly from developing one for the general market. However, the main factors remain largely the same differing only in the implementation.

The development team should be skilled and experienced and the requirements well understood. The main difference is that for custom mobile application development, the client should be more involved and constantly kept in the loop. Failure to do this almost guarantees that the development efforts will fail.

Involve all stakeholders from the beginning

This includes management, users and the development team. The management should be involved so they can understand the costs involved in terms of time and money. The users provide information on what they require from the app and their current tasks and workflows studied for automation. The development team should be involved early on so that they get a better understanding of what to do from the start.

Develop iteratively

This means that instead of moving from the analysis phase to testing phase sequentially and without revisiting phases already done, the app is developed in a piecemeal manner: Some requirements are analyzed, analysis and development is carried out for those requirements and they are tested by the development team’s testers as well as the users.

This caters for changing requirements and enables the users to get a feel of the app from the beginning. This can be done using a throwaway prototype or the prototype can be built on until it’s a full app. It also enables errors and bugs to be caught and corrected earlier.

Understand the complexities involved in development

App development require the investment of time, money and effort. It may take anywhere from 6 weeks to several months to develop an app. The costs can range from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the functionality required.

Additionally, other factors other than functionality affect the budget and timeline of mobile application development. This non-functional requirements are important and significantly affect the success of a project and its budget. They include performance and user experience. Not taking them into consideration results in projects being late and/or over budget. Ignoring them results in an unusable and unsuccessful app.