You have a great idea for an app. You have the money to get it made. You’ve shopped around and finally hired the app development company you want to work with. Now what?
We’ve been there, and we’ve got you covered. Here are the most common questions we ask during kick-off and throughout the development process. By asking yourself and answering these questions, you’ll be in the best position to get the most out of your app developer.
“What is the business idea?”
Too often clients don’t understand that an app isn’t a business. Rather, businesses need apps. Just having a “really cool idea” for an app isn’t enough, and it always leads to problems down the line when it comes to designing the app itself.
For example, if you don’t have a good idea of the market audience for your app, it will inevitably lead to design choices that may ultimately be wrong for the segment you are trying to target. Is the app for teens? Is it for adults? Does your monetization depend on downloads, in-app time spent, or ad views? Do you want to flow traffic back to your company’s website, or keep people engaged solely on the app? All of these are business decisions that translate directly into how the app will be developed.
So basically, you need to put in the time and plan out what your business plan for this app is, with as many specifics as possible. Trust us, you cannot get too specific. We have yet to say to a client “woah, woah, let us have some creative freedom!” On the contrary, the more specific you can be, the smoother the development process is. And the best way to be specific is to have a full understanding of how this app will be used in your business.
Many people might read all this and think “so I’m doing all the work? Aren’t I paying my app developer to do this?” Not true. The developer’s job isn’t to think through the business application for your idea; their job is to bring your idea to fruition. Remember, up to two-thirds of apps get fewer than 1000 downloads in the first year. Most apps fail, and not thinking through the business plan is the main reason why.
“When is good for our weekly call?”
Creating an app is not a small investment. So it’s always mind-blowing when clients don’t bother checking in or responding to communication requests regularly. Once all the details are in place and the developer gets to work, it’s very important to touch base at least once a week, especially during the first month or two of the process.
If you answer the previous question on this post thoroughly, there will be less questions the developer will have, but still questions are inevitable. And often, not having a question answered can result in developers twiddling their thumbs waiting on a response. This then leads to everything taking longer than expected, and somehow the app development team always takes the blame.
Like any other team, developers have set schedules and sprints as they work. Setting up a call earlier in the week (Monday or Tuesday) means having the rest of the week to design and code with the answers they need to move forward.
“Wasn’t this what we discussed?”
App developers hate to ask this question, but it gets asked all the time. Unless this is a planned iteration/update of an existing app, you are probably working on a minimum viable product (there are a slew of reasons to go with an MVP, which is for another blog post). Because of this, you want the MVP out fairly quick because only when an app is live for use can you start getting the feedback you need to iterate.
The problem is that many clients a) want the app to be perfect before it’s set live; and b) constantly deviate from the original plan/scope of the app. A good app developer will be savvy in knowing not to over-promise during the kick-off meetings, thereby understanding the scope and time-frame for development. Asking for changes, additions, tweaks throughout the process will severely hamper not just how long it will take, but is very often unnecessary for the MVP both parties agreed to build at the start.
Things always evolve during the development process. App developers know this. But over-iterating and second guessing beyond a certain point will cost a lot more time and money. So again, we go back to the first question in this post. The more you’ve planned out the app from the beginning, the less likely this will happen.
Like hiring any other professional, clear initial planning, clear communication, and not deviating too much from the plan will help you get the best results from working with an app developer. Seems like no-brainers, but believe us: if more businesses asked themselves these questions, the entire process will be exponentially smoother for both parties.
This article originally appeared in Rocket Farm Studios.