How Much Will My App Cost Me? 5 Typical Errors

Here are some examples from a typical workday at Works:

When discussing app development with potential clients at Works, we frequently encounter these common situations:

  1. We often encounter companies that recognize the importance of developing a cutting-edge mobile application to augment their marketing efforts. However, these companies lack the in-house technical expertise to build such an app as software development is not their core business. The main apprehension is usually the cost associated with the project – how much financial resources need to be invested?
  2. We also often encounter business founders with a great concept that they have quickly brought to life as a clickable, basic version of their product. The prototype garners significant attention from investors, inspiring the founders to launch an app and reach a wider audience. The question that arises is typically about the cost of the project – what would be the current price tag?
  3. Some businesses opt for low-cost offshore service providers to achieve the minimum viable product (MVP) stage. Unfortunately, this often results in significant quality issues and the technology may not be scalable. Although the MVP meets basic requirements, it is likely that a substantial portion of the code needs to be rewritten for deployment to a small group of beta users. This brings up the question of the costs associated with fixing the issues.

The financial cost of developing a software application or product is frequently underestimated. Yet, the encouraging news is that there is often little financial difference between the two options. Furthermore, by investing in the right individuals and processes, the expense of implementing these features may be lower than originally assumed. Read our blog post on the increasing prevalence of low and no-code applications.

Before we proceed, there are often some common misunderstandings that need clarifying.

1. The Most Valuable Player should be your primary focus.

While developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an integral part of product design, the purpose of this stage can sometimes become muddled in the process. An MVP is intended to demonstrate a product’s viability and fulfil an existing market need, enabling swift customer acquisition and satisfaction. Check out our post on the rise of technical debt in modern businesses.

Achieving Minimum Viable Product (MVP) status is merely the beginning of an exciting new journey, not the ultimate goal. Once you have secured your initial customer base, it is crucial to have the appropriate infrastructure and security measures in place to uphold their continued satisfaction, as well as the means to deliver any additional services they may require. While aiming for the most cost-effective MVP route, bear in mind that this may result in undesirable consequences.

2. In summary, build first and then test.

Testing plays a crucial role in contemporary software development processes. Test engineers commence creating test cases immediately after the development and estimation of user stories. Test-driven development (TDD) is a prevalent methodology employed by developers, which involves writing tests for a feature prior to coding it, ensuring comprehensive unit testing of every aspect of the code. With an increase in product complexity, any delay in testing will only escalate the cost of any subsequent errors discovered. In short, postponing testing will translate to increased expenses in the long term. This was evidenced in Scenario 3, where a business experienced a three-fold increase in quality costs from insufficient early testing. For further insights, read our post on the importance of product ownership in software engineering processes or our guide on constructing a React app that users will cherish.

3. We require only a small team of programmers to complete this task.

To avoid encountering Scenario 3, it is imperative to engage a team of skilled developers. However, to provide exceptional user experience, it is necessary to ensure that both the visual elements and navigation within the application are of the highest calibre. Without creating design references such as wireframes or mock-ups before implementing them, the process can become complicated and time-consuming. This is just one example of a crucial role in the software development lifecycle; others include testing, a genuine product owner, and process-specific resources (read more in item #5).

4. The required conditions are minimal.

It is often said that the achievements of a remarkable engineer may soon fade, but it is the particulars that ultimately determine a software’s triumph or defeat. To achieve success in user experience, the development team must possess a clear comprehension of the product’s vision and guarantee that it is implemented correctly.

Within the realm of Agile software development, the duties of supervising the process and making and validating determinations are distributed between the Scrum Master and the Product Owner. The Scrum Master supervises the entire process and resolves any issues that may arise, while the Product Owner authorizes and approves any decisions that the team needs to make.

5. It’s just an app.

In the current age of software development, software factories are vital for the creation of modern software applications. These factories are manned by both programmers and automation engineers, who work in tandem to ensure prompt and efficient delivery of finished code to the end-users. The term CI/CD refers to the entire continuous integration and delivery process, aimed at developing features at an accelerated speed while maintaining a high degree of stability and continually seeking ways to enhance performance. DevOps, or Site Reliability Engineers, play an indispensable role in propelling software development beyond the Minimum Viable Product stage.

A straightforward approach to resolving the first question (i.e., how much does it cost, exactly?) is as follows:

To realize a successful Minimum Viable Product (MVP), you must form a dedicated team with a diverse set of specialized skills. Such a team should include software developers, testers, UI/UX designers, individuals tasked with eliminating impediments and organizing daily scrums, key decision makers for the product, and personnel to maintain the CI/CD (‘factory’). If there are significant architectural choices to be made, it may be advantageous to appoint a technical leader. The creation of MVP necessitates the continuous work of at least five to seven people for three to four months.

At Works, we employ a well-established approach that entails a Design Sprint with the core team to guarantee the triumph of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the creation of a scalable product solution.

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