Firsty uses a familiar, gated waterfall approach for the majority of the applications we build. When our clients are reasonably clear about what they want and the project itself is not too complex (eg storybook app) we find that waterfall approach works best. We do not obsessively document each step, but we will ensure that we get our client’s sign-off on key deliverables before we move to the next stage.
The approach is more of a cycle really as we will always look to enhance the app further once it is released. Indeed a re-release with new features and or content is a good way to re-invigorate interest.
For more complex applications we adopt an AGILE or SCRUM development approach.
An agile approach differs from a more traditional, waterfall approach in that it allows for iterative and incremental production and constant testing. Agile helps deliver production efficiencies, reduce development man-hours, time and costs, and increase the amount of testing, it prioritises:
- interactions of individuals over processes and tools
- working software over comprehensive documentation
- customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- flexible responses to change over following a plan or defined PCR convention
Our agile approach allows us to develop core functionalities based on an approved wire frame before formal designs are finalised. This reduces waiting time, giving developers the opportunity to develop work in parallel as soon as a base data structure and wire frame are approved.
Each process happens iteratively. Incremental development releases are delivered to the testing team to ensure that outputs meet the clients requirements and preferred high-level designs. All development teams (eg. Design, iOS, Android and QA) work to a single, approved application architecture.
The design team and system architect will first work with the lead developers in each of the platform teams to determine the best approaches for the UI/UX. This activity usually begins with the identification of different UI elements and the various screens/panels needed to present the application content effectively.
When the wire frame has been created and approved by the developers, it will be passed to the client for feedback. On approval, the designer will create the screen/panel mock-ups, which will closely resemble the final prototype application.
Each development team will then implement the same feature of the architecture or identified module for their respective platforms (based on the approved designs) and start delivering demo versions. Outputs will be tested to ensure that the build is bug free and fit for purpose.
Speed to Market
The app development process usually takes between 3 to 6 months, but it will be longer for more complex solutions. If you want to get to market quickly then make sure you cross your ‘T’s and dot your ‘I’s when planning.
- First off, make sure there is a bona fide business case, remember apps are not cheap to build and nor are they expensive to buy.
- Get your source content into the required formats and start to think about what your go to market strategy will comprise. If you don’t put a well thought out marketing plan and reasonable marketing budget together you are unlikely to succeed.
- Finally when you are in development keep a razor like focus on the user experience and be prompt and clear in your feedback to your development partner.