Understanding App Development Life Cycle: a Comprehensive Guide for Enterpreneurs

More and more businesses nowadays decide to shift mobile. And that’s absolutely reasonable choice:

- more than 50% of digital media consumption accounts for mobile apps;

- 90% of time smartphone users spend on their mobiles goes to mobile apps;

- a typical user has about 30 apps installed on his mobile and spends over 35 hours a month using them;

- 42% of the mobile purchases were completed from the mobile apps;

- and finally, 85% of consumers prefer native mobile apps over a mobile website.

When deciding on developing a mobile app, it’s important to picture the entire range of stages and procedures to go through.

So here you have it, an ultimate guide to the lifecycle of a typical app development project, no matter the complexity, according to the mobile app projects approach by The App Solutions, an app development company:

1. Planning stage (project manager, marketer, and business analyst are involved) — carrying out the business analysis and crafting mobile strategy.

2. Technical documentation (covered by the technical writer) — describing all tech requirements and details.

3. Prototyping (usually made by a UX/UI designer) — creating the sketch, wireframes, prototype and final app skins upon approval.

4. Development (performed by the developers) — front-end and back-end segments of coding.

5. Quality Assurance (usually performed continuously after each agile sprint is completed; followed by bug fixing) — testing tech requirements, device compatibility, interface, security aspects, etc.

6. Publishing & Maintenance (covered by DevOps) — publishing to the app store, updates releases, infrastructure, and entire app maintenance.

Planning stage

When creating a mobile app, it is crucial to take time to go through the necessary research and planning steps.

Business analysis:

- Idea evaluation — a preliminary stage, when experts investigate the idea of a mobile app, correct it, give their advice and create a rough logics for it.

- Competition analysis — study of activities of other players in the market.

- SWOT-analysis — evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of the product, insights into opportunities and other aspects.

- ROI calculation — assessment of the future app market performance help realize the real value and adjust budget accordingly.

- Requirements scope — summing up requirements for the future product at all levels.

Mobile strategy:

- Market research — this study shows the overall situation on the market to help adjust the concept of the product to current demand.

- Defining user personas — understanding who is your target audience is crucial in crafting advertising approach.

- Technologies & tools assessment — study of specific tools required for the industry and select a set of technologies to meet the objectives of the project.

- Complex promotion strategy — a step by step action plan for acquisition and retaining users.

Technical documentation:

Also known as a technical specification or a software documentation, this paper is a complex manual of your product, outlining requirements, business logic, and leading your specialists through all stages of the projec:

- Makes your software universally understandable.

- Provides flexibility for future changes.

- Adds value to your app by providing a clear manual.

- Helps to keep control of your own product.

- Allows reusing existing parts of the developed application.

Prototyping:

Prototyping is a process of defining a concept in visual terms and evaluating how the app might develop to correct a misconception.

- Creating a sketch — the draft version of your app on paper that sets up the main logic, number of screens and the way they interact with each other.

- Creating wireframes — provides the visualization of the draft app structure.

- Creating a clickable prototype — helps to find out and analyze all possible use cases, discover logical breaks and technical inconsistencies in the original idea.

- Designing app skins — collecting all wireframes and put them together to get the final design.

Code Development:

This segment usually consists of two main parts:

- Front-end development — client-side development, creating a presentation layer of the software for a direct user interaction with it.

- Backend development — a server/database part of development, connecting a front-end part of the mobile app with the data access layer.

Quality Assurance:

In the agile development, it’s usually a continuous process following every sprint of development:

- Compatibility testing — running the app on different devices and screen sizes.

- Interface testing — checking the navigation, menu, and buttons performance.

- Device compatibility testing — checking how the app looks and performs on various screen sizes.

- Low-level resources testing — examination of the app in conditions of low battery, slow Internet connection, etc.

- Security testing — provides quality assurance of users data safety.

- Beta testing — giving users access to the app to get feedback.

Publishing & Maintenance:

- Publishing of the app and following updated versions to a chosen app store.

- Infrastructure support — either you have admin panel to post on or cloud service attached, you’ll need to make sure it functions fully.

- App store optimization — helping your app move onto the tops of search lists and this way gain more users.

Making the Most of Your App Development Project

Here is a couple of tips for getting the most out of your own app development project:

- Mind what’s trendy + study the market and your target audience. It is a crucial preliminary stage that will impact literally every side of the project and every decision to make

- Specify as particularly as possible the product you expect to see at the end of the project. Defining the smallest features and functions of the software at the planning and prototyping points of the project will help find areas to save money on the actual development;

  • Negotiate your idea with various development teams (study the profile of the app development company and find evidence for their credibility, debate the best price). Make sure they hear you and understand what you mean — simply put, that you’re on the same page.

The article is originally published here.