5 Ways to Speed up Your Mobile App Development Timeline
If you are venturing into the entrepreneurial world, then developing a mobile app is going to be one of your top priorities. And to stand out from the competition, you will need to put a product on the market which gets you recognition from your target customers.
A mobile application is the customer-engaging facet of your web-presence, just like your website. By digitizing your services, you are basically empowering the users. And once the customer is involved in your app—well, congratulations! You have hit the nail on the head.
Read more: How to Speed up the Web Development Process
So the most important aspect of your mobile app development strategy should focus on a speedy and robust delivery. I was intrigued by an article going on the internet—“How to build a mobile app with backend in 4 days”—which was an interesting read. So I took this opportunity to get insights from Gautam Gupta the head for mobile in the company I work for and look into practices for speedy mobile app development and what we follow to ensure quality as per the industry benchmarks, as well as customer expectations. Here are few of the salient points of my discussion with him:
1. Embrace the world of MVP
The Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is the buzz word in business community these days. Although it’s a great concept, entrepreneurs are often misguided by the term “minimum”. The word speaks for the minimum features and not minimum efforts. You cannot present a half-baked effort just to attract investors.
If you want to achieve big, do small things in a great way. LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman took nine months to launch his first startup and he quote it as a “disastrous mistake“ (read: rule #6).
Pro tip: Do not wait to enter the market with a fully functional product having every desired feature. Instead, put something in the user’s bag which addresses their key needs—quickly. And then just as quickly, work over the “real feedback” provided by the users for the next release.
2. Start from wireframes, then use them to create visual designs
Wireframes will give you an idea, a rough blueprint of what you need to achieve. It will help you figure out the information architecture of the product you are about to build.
The customers can approach you with just an idea in their head or on a napkin. Either way, focus on the design first before you jump into developing the mobile application. It sets a clear direction for the whole development effort to be put in.
For a robust application, design is an important factor.
Why? Because design is not just about the look and feel. It’s about giving the liquidity factor to your app.
So if you are going to develop an app without designing at the inception and save the moment to add “look and feel” towards the end—it’s like hiring a baker to mend a collapsed cake because you mixed the ingredients haphazardly.
Pro tip: Wireframes should give estimates for visual design and not for actual development timeline. Get your development estimates on the visual designs.
3. Try and stick to native designs
When I say try, I want to emphasize on the benefits of native designs (which does not mean that hybrid designs do not have any benefits). The choice among these two can make or break the success of your application.
As a startup, you must first decide what you want to achieve with the initial version of the app. Do you want to stun your users with astounding user experience and beautiful animations? Or do you just want to enter the market with a usable MVP?
If customer experience is your priority, then stick to native designs because native designs provide a faster interaction and the look and feel are consistent with the other apps present on the device. Try to avoid complicated designs as much as possible, at least for basic features like navigation, menus, tab bars, etc.
Pro tip: In cross-platform apps, you cannot use native code for upgradations. So you will have to throw your whole code and build the app from scratch if you want a robust application.
4. Follow Agile and two-week sprints to develop the product
If you want to release an update every six weeks then there is no way you can do it without following Agile methodology. Adopt agile and learn to play with it. It helps in pushing frequent updates keeping in mind the user feedback as well as client expectations.
Fix a timeline, a two-week sprint should cater to everything. Identify areas of improvement in every sprint and continue to do what works best for the team. Let the team decide what stories to own based on velocity and capacity.
Pro tip: Ensure that your sprint duration is optimum (2-4 weeks) and that you are not overburdening your team with an excessive number of user feedback.
5. Plan a design review before sprint planning
When you start with sprints, do a visual/screen design walkthrough on what you want to achieve in this sprint and then follow it up with a demo and review of what was accomplished in the sprint. An effective sprint planning will always lead to burndown of all your story points.
At the end of the sprint, you should have a shippable product even if it is partly done. There can always be feedback and improvements based on what was done in the sprint, but always try to keep it to a minimum.
Pro tip: Ensure that all the sprint candidates are on the same page and the product owner is able to clarify all queries. Meet for backlog refinement mid-sprint and always ensure you have enough groomed backlog for at least one upcoming sprint.
Embracing the concept of MVP, creating better designs by starting from wireframes, sticking to native designs, following agile development, and planning a design review are but some of the ways you can speed up your mobile development timeline.
I hope that after reading this article, you’ll have more confidence in building your first mobile app. What other strategies do you apply to speed up your mobile app development timeline?
Shruti Sharma is a Content Developer with Quovantis Technologies. She writes with guidance from the mobile development practice of Quovantis Technologies which is a design-led engineering firm building user experience design, technology architecture, and innovative products for startups & large enterprises.