Are you a first generation Entrepreneur? Trying to get your first mobile app developed? In my 10 years of development experience, I have seen a pattern in “why most mobile app products fail”. Here are 3 Mistakes an Entrepreneur makes in planning app development for his first app. How to avoid them? I am writing this article especially for you.
Planning app development mistake #1
Fear of starting out small – Trying to get 3X developed in the cost of X
We all come across a time in our lives when we have to get an app developed and are short on our budget. We ofter get quoted 3-4 times of our budget (happens quite often, isn’t it?). Miraculously, we get someone to get it developed within our budget and we think we have just conquered the biggest challenge of our life. Well, the problem just gets worse after it.
What we fail to understand is that a professional developer would never do a 3X job at the cost of X simply because he would have more work already on his table. If he is a good developer, chances are that he is having sufficient business through referrals and existing clients that he won’t bring his price down! Whereas a developer who is doing the project at 1/3 of the actual cost is doing your app because he simply has no other project on his list (Let’s admit that we know why)! Believe me, this is the biggest reason of who your app is bound to fail. You are not lucky. The greed has taken over the rational neocortex and boom!
A professional developer would always either ask you to increase your budget or decrease your scope to fit it into your budget. “But” as an Entrepreneur, we tend to find a great bargain which is often suicidal. We ignore the consultation of a good developer who actually knew the complexity and go with the one who is going to learn on his way. Planning app development means to plan on how much is necessary for my app on day one.
Are all developers who charge 3-5 times of your budget good? Absolutely no! All I am saying is that you should start with trying to trust the developer and ask for explanations on why he thinks that the app should take so much time. Developing an app is easy. But to develop an app that would launch and be successful, it takes a lot of effort. So start your search with an open mind.
Coming back to the point, we try to get everything done on the first version and the best way to do it is to find a cheaper developer. I mean seriously? What is better, a good two wheeler with durable tyres or a four wheeler with punctured tubes? A real Entrepreneur knows what he needs to launch in the first phase and has a priority list with him. What you must ensure is to get your USP right and all the “bells and whistles” can be tied up when the product starts to get traction. You can always go for funding then!
In a nutshell, your approach should be to find the “right developer”, consult with him on scope/budget and get the app started. Not to define the scope and budget and then find a developer for it. If you need help, click here to know how to do a great phased launch and how much it should cost.
Planning app development mistake #2
Small teams, Big companies or freelancers? – Always take the middle road
This can be quite controversial but I would still put this up. I have worked with “Technology Giants” as well as freelancers. None of them beats a smart compact team where you know the entire team by name.
Freelancers can not even remotely be associated with the term “bench elasticity”. As quite often he is alone in his team. He has to keep a few projects in the buffer and as soon as more than one closes all the clients would suffer. This is a classic case that I have seen with almost every freelancer. They are tempting because they have low costs. Yes, because they do graphics by themselves (Though they are not designers). They do Server side themselves (Though they don’t understand the server side optimisation). In the end, you get an app in 2 years for which you were quoted 3 months. And worst of it all, it crashes as it hits 500 users.
Big Technology companies, on the other hand, have too many freshers, inexperienced resources to average out the cost of unbillable senior management resources and investors. They have too many big clients that small non-retainable clients are lost in the cocktail of project management. It gets difficult to make your project sound even a “secondary priority” to them. Also interestingly, most of the time “when you think” you have given your project to this big company as it has experience in handling such projects; Well, the experienced person who did that project might have already switched a year back as IT companies have a very high attrition rate!
The best way is to secure yourself with a solution between both of them and to have a team which is small and compact. It has the same urgency and importance for your project as you do. You can talk to the same people who would be developing/managing your project even before project kick off. They have specialised team members for each task like graphic, server, UX etc. This really increases your chances of getting your app launched. planning app development means understanding what kind of team you actually need for your app.
Planning app development mistake #3
My app – My Idea- I won’t share it even with the developer!
This one is not with all of them but most of them. As Entrepreneurs, we strongly feel that our product idea is our brain child. Which is really fine. The problem starts when we don’t fully disclose our idea even with the development team. We often just tell about the first phase. Such apps cost you a lot more than they should.
A well-informed developer can keep room for future development, enhancements if he has a clear picture what may be coming in phase 2 or 3. But when he doesn’t know about your vision and develops the “phase 1” application as a standalone in-extensible product, you are in trouble. What happens next is, you ask the developer to add a few features and he says he will have to do “module x” again because it has not been built in a way to be extended. So you have to pay again for “module x”. Soon you start paying for the entire app again. So remember, whenever you share your requirements with the developer always tell him your long term goal so that he can create the database structure, can keep the code modular and makes the required things dynamic so that your app don’t hit the dead end after phase 1.