A (Gentle) Introduction to the Mobile App Development Process

By Bobby Gill on September 18, 2012

Once you’ve built your mockups, obtained funding, and found your engineers, you are ready to jump headlong into the app development process. But apps don’t build themselves, even if you have someone to design it and another ready to code it. Like the conductor of an orchestra brings together the various instruments to compose a single musical piece, you need to bring together your designers, engineers and others so that their work culminates in the creation of your app. The truth about developing apps is that without proper management your project is liable to go off the tracks and turn into a complete train wreck.

The best way to keep your app on track is to keep your development schedules short, and to release often. This brings two benefits: you don’t let issues go undetected for very long, and you validate your assumptions with customer feedback before investing a huge amount of time in development.

I like to break down a single release of an app into the following milestones:

1.) Plan

2.) Develop / Test

3.) Release

4.) Gather feedback

You shouldn’t view these milestones as a linear set of steps; it’s more like a cycle. Each iteration of this cycle is called a ‘release’ and can end with an app shipped to the App Store, or just privately distributed to test users.  While we all want to release an amazing app on the first go, the reality is that your first release probably won’t be very good. You need to assume this going in and aim to develop your app over a series of releases. The commandment that you need to follow here is “release early and often”. The more you are able to iterate and get your app in the hands of your users, the more feedback you’ll get to develop it further and improve on it. In my experience, it usually takes 3-4 iterations of this process before I’ve built an app that I can truly say is ‘finished’.

Over the next few articles I will break down each of the milestones and give you the tips you need to successfully release your app.


Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

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