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The Mobile App Development Process: A Gentle Introduction

By Bobby Gill on August 2, 2021

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

The planning phase is the first step to your process, and key to the app development timeline. This is when you decide what your app will be and how it will work.

2.) Develop / Test

The second phase of your app development comes when you start working with developers who will conduct tests.

3.) Release

Finally, after all the hard work in the development process, you release your app into the world.

4.) Gather feedback

What comes next, the feedback phase, is where you gather user and reviewer feedback and make the necessary changes and fixes to keep your app running smoothly and staying in the download charts.

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.

Next in the series, PART 2: CONCERNING BETA RELEASES

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

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