How Much Will My App Cost Me? 5 Typical Errors

Some Examples from a Workday

At Works, these are some of the most typical situations that arise when we speak with prospective clients about their interest in developing apps:

  1. The company has identified the need to create a modern and technologically advanced mobile application in order to support its marketing activities. However, software development is not part of their core business, so they lack the internal technical expertise to create the app. The primary concern is the cost associated with the venture – what financial investment will be required?
  2. The founders of a business have had a brilliant concept which they have swiftly developed into a clickable, rudimentarily functioning version of their product. This has attracted a great deal of attention from investors and, as a result, they have decided to create an app and promote it to a wide audience. What is the current price tag for this project?
  3. By utilising a service provider with a low cost offshore model, the business was able to achieve the minimum viable product (MVP) stage. Unfortunately, this has led to major quality issues and the technology used to create the app is unlikely to be scalable. Although the basic functions are present, it is probable that much of the code will need to be rewritten for deployment to a select group of beta customers. This therefore raises the question: what will the costs be for repair?

The cost of developing a software application or product is often underestimated. However, the good news is that there is not much difference between the two options when considering the financial implications. Moreover, with the right investment in the people and processes involved, the cost of creating these features may be lower than expected.

But first, let’s clear up some common misunderstandings.

1. Most Valuable Player should be your only focus.

Despite the focus on developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) during product design, the purpose of this can become lost in the process. An MVP is designed to demonstrate the product’s viability and satisfy an existing need in the marketplace, so that customers can be quickly attracted and their needs met.

Reaching Minimum Viable Product (MVP) status is not an end in itself; it is simply the start of a new and thrilling journey. Once you have attracted your initial customers, it is essential that you have the infrastructure and security measures in place to ensure their continued satisfaction, as well as the capacity to provide them with any additional services they may demand. If you are looking for the most economical route to MVP, be aware that this could lead to undesirable consequences.

2. In other words, construct and then test.

Testing is an essential part of modern software development processes. Test engineers begin working on creating test cases as soon as the user stories have been developed and estimated. Test-driven development (TDD) is a popular methodology amongst developers which involves writing tests for a feature before writing the code itself and helps to ensure every aspect of the code is tested via unit tests. As the complexity of a product increases, any delay in testing will only increase the cost of any errors that are discovered later. In other words, waiting to test will cost you more in the end. This was demonstrated in Scenario 3, where the business saw its quality costs triple due to not testing soon enough.

3. We need just a small team of programmers to get this done.

In order to avoid the third case, it is necessary to employ a team of highly competent developers. However, in order to deliver an outstanding user experience, it is essential that both the aesthetic components and the navigation within the application are of the highest quality. Without creating design references such as wireframes or mock-ups prior to implementation, it can become complex and take an extended period of time. This is just one example of an essential role within the software development life cycle; others include testing, a genuine product owner and process-specific resources (mention in item #5).

4. The necessary conditions are minimal.

As the saying goes, the work of a great engineer may soon be forgotten, yet it is the details that determine whether a software succeeds or fails. For a successful user experience, the development team must have a clear understanding of the product’s vision and must ensure that the vision is implemented correctly.

In the domain of Agile software development, the responsibilities for overseeing the process and making and validating decisions are divided between the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The Scrum Master is responsible for overseeing the entire process and resolving any issues that may arise, while the Product Owner is responsible for making and verifying any choices that the team needs to make.

5. Just an app

Software factories are essential for the creation of modern software applications. These factories are staffed by both programmers and automation engineers, whose combined efforts enable the quick and efficient delivery of finished code to the public. The term CI/CD is used to refer to the complete continuous integration and delivery process, whose objective is to develop features as rapidly as possible while maintaining a high degree of stability and constantly searching for ways to improve. DevOps, or Site Reliability Engineers, are indispensable if the software is to progress beyond the minimum viable product stage.

An easy method to answer the first question (how much is it, really?) is to say the following:

In order to achieve a successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you will need to assemble a dedicated team with a range of specialised skills. This should include software developers, testers, UI/UX designers, individuals responsible for removing obstacles and organising the daily scrum, key decision makers for the product, and personnel to maintain the CI/CD (‘factory’). If there are significant architectural decisions to be made, it may also be beneficial to appoint a technical leader. To create the MVP, it is recommended that at least five to seven people are working continuously for three to four months.

At Works, we have a well-established method that involves a Design Sprint with the core team in order to ensure the success of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the development of a scalable solution for the product.

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