5 Things that Derail Great Mobile App Ideas & How to Avoid Them

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Contributing writer: Travis Healy, Business Development Manager, Microexcel CSD Division; Originally published on October 30, 2017 on LinkedIn Pulse

“I have a GREAT idea for an app…!”

That’s typically how the process begins. You or a member of your team has a great idea for an app and your sixth sense screams out to you that it will be a mega hit.

There are also a host of other considerations that most folks don’t take into account that can literally make or break your app idea. Here are some of the points to consider before engaging anyone to help you develop an app.

1. Lack of Knowledge about the Overall Development Process 
Be it a business app, game or anything in between – developing your app requires the involvement of a number of factors that are both time and revenue consuming.

a. Project Scoping and Analysis 
A professional app begins with detailed discussions between you & the design and development teams to ensure that the vision / outcome for your app and the technology behind it is clearly understood by everyone on the project.

b. Design 
The basic app design should be done before any coding takes place. The design can be as simple as drawing it on paper or in using a paid or open source wire-framing tool. Either way, this is a must to convey the idea correctly to the development team. The golden rule is design first, code second.

c. Development 
Coding the app while following the design approvals happens next. A key safety check is to make sure that the coders on the project are experienced with your chosen technology. Developers come in basically three experience levels – Architect, Senior and Junior. As an additional safety check, ask for the developers’ portfolio and references.

d. QA & Testing 
This is the checks and balances stage. The team identifies that the app is working as designed and is ready for submitting to the store.

Each of these stages, takes time and money. Depending on the complexity of your app, the time and money you’ll spend varies.

2. Not Knowing the True Costs of App Development 
The cost to design, develop, test and deliver your app vary based on the complexity of your project. Other factors that affect cost include whether the apps are developed natively (iOS, Android) or web-based (device agnostic) and if you’re having them developed at the same time or independently.

App development costs typically range from $5,000 to $200,000.00+ Game development can be considerably more…again, it’s all based on complexity.

After the app is built, more budget should be set aside for app maintenance and hosting…usually a monthly fee – this varies depending on the app load.

3.Not Considering the Impact of Fixed Bid and Time & Materials Development & Scope Creep 
If you elect to go fixed bid, make sure that you have scoped everything out up front in detail, and that you don’t add to the project’s scope once it has started. If you do (scope creep), you’ll derail your budget.

If you opt to go the time & materials route, you’ll get an estimate for the overall project. Scope creep can still be a factor, if you add to the project along the way. A good development shop will be able to keep costs within 10-20% of the initial estimate.

With either option, I personally recommend that you add a project manager to ensure that delivery is made with either selection.

4. Thinking That the Hard Work is Over after Development & Launch 
Before, during and after your app has hit the stores, you have to market it, brand it and promote it – to get people to use it. There are thousands of fantastic apps out there with nobody using them…because nobody knows about them.

At a minimum, you need a website, blog about the app, social sites for the app (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and the expectation that you’ll have to market and promote your app regularly.

5. Creating an App from an Idea that “Nobody Else Has Done Yet.”
If no one else has an app like your idea…that should be a red flag. There’s a reason. Perhaps there isn’t a market for it…or it simply won’t get used.

If something else exists and you can improve on that idea…that should be your focus. If something similar is out there, being used and is generating revenue, you can rest assured that if you develop and promote your app accordingly, it will get similar if not better, results.

For more information on mobile application development or custom software development in general, visit www.microexcelcsd.com.

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