Questions to ask your app development company:
The stages of managing an app development project:
When working on an app development project, you’ll go through a series of stages no matter who you’re working with or what you’re working on:
- Research and briefing
- Design and development
- Continuous improvement
- Ongoing support
During these stages, your app developers will need input from you, your organisation, your team and your users. The extent of which will vary between projects and companies.
What to look out for:
App developers talk about Agile. The more traditional project management method is known as Waterfall, which is outdated and although still useful in some scenarios, should never be solely used by your app development company.
Traditional vs Agile project management methods.
Waterfall project management is a sequential and linear process, meaning that stages in the project cannot be started until the previous step is complete.
Agile on the other hand?
Is iterative, which means that throughout the development process, you will be constantly testing and adapting your designs based on feedback from real users.
The important part here is that app development companies use a mix of both methods to build your relationship and make sure the project plan and communications suit both of you.
This typically happens in ‘sprints’.
Which can be any amount of time but usually only take a week or two. These sprints are used to build specific components and test them with real users, at the end of each sprint the feedback informs decision making on which elements impact your end users, are worth building, need adapting and best help you achieve your end goals.
What level of involvement will your developers need from you?
The most common mistake? Believing that the brief and the final design are the two main touch-points throughout your project. The most detrimental mistake? Thinking that you’ll only be communicating with the project manager from your app development company.
Make sure you’re not ONLY communicating with Project Managers!
For a more collaborative and immersive approach to project management, you and your developers should be communicating regularly throughout each individual stage in the process.
This could be providing design feedback, putting ideas forward or answering vital questions about your organisation. Make sure that your project is implemented by a few key people including:
A technical lead: Providing a technical understanding of what is and isn’t possible, as well as the difficulty, time and cost of developing more technical requirements.
A design lead: Who can really push the creative boundaries and make the app look, feel and be used in the best way possible to achieve your end goals.
A facilitator: The coordinator who can bring the best of both worlds together and map out a project plan with cost, time and requirement estimates.
What is the best communication tool for app development projects?
Basecamp describes itself as a ‘central source of truth’ and set out to solve the issue that many project managers have; which boils down to having stuff scattered in too many places.
The tool combines things like message boards, group chats, document sharing, personal calendars… Basically everything that different members of the development team need to manage your project in an Agile way.
This saves you from having to download, install and learn to use a bunch of different software, tools or apps to do everything you need to do throughout your project. Making the entire process more convenient, efficient and effective.