You are about to start creating your application or letting it be developed. Whether this app realizes a completely new idea or is the addition to an existing (SaaS) digital product, developing a mobile application in both cases can be extremely valuable. To maximize your future app’s value and help its faster release, we have created a list of 20 questions. When you can form a clear answer to all these questions, you are ready for your app development!
20 questions about app development
Can you describe your application and the purpose of it in a few sentences?
Describing your application short and clear is a great exercise to grasp the essence of your application. The better you understand and define the application’s nature, the better the maximum value in your MVP.
Who are the end-users of the application, and what is their “problem”?
Define the problem that you will solve for the potential users. And, perhaps most importantly, why is a mobile application the best way to solve this problem? Could a mobile website work just as well? Why not? Or why? If the mobile app is the best-suited option, ask yourself which platforms will work best for you - Android or iOS, or both?
What is the “real deadline” for the launch of your application?
Is the launch of your app a standalone event, or is it linked to something? Is the new application a part of an update of your existing digital product? Will the launch match well with a planned campaign?
Another critical thing to consider on the subject of deadlines is that publishing an application to app stores isn't a matter of minutes. Both Apple and Android have strict requirements for applications to be approved. It can sometimes take weeks to review the application. Besides, they may request to perform some changes in your app for the final approval. We advise you to take this additional time into account.
Where are the risks during app development?
What are external factors and/or challenges that can affect your planning? And which challenges might face your software development team or individual developer? By identifying those risks in the early stages, you can prevent many difficulties and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Building a risk registry as part of the project kick-off and being disciplined to keep it updated is a worthy idea, even when considering your app as a relatively simple product. Allow your team to find solutions to these challenges in an Agile way.
What is your budget?
We can be short about the budget. Ask yourself how much you can and especially want to spend. What is not less important, ask yourself how, when, and how quickly you plan to recoup this investment.
Who are the key stakeholders?
Who are the stakeholders of your application? For example, who owns the budget? Do you have an investor, or do you sponsor it yourself? Who is the product owner? Or, rather, who is authorized to approve a prototype? Is there a formal hierarchy during the development of the application? Can you map up all the decision-makers?
Do you know which method of software development you choose?
There are several methods of software development. The implications of choosing a specific one can be more significant than you think. Immerse yourself in the various methods of software development and make a choice. Why would you choose that particular method? How will it benefit the software development process of your app?
What are the business objectives of the mobile app?
Is this application a stand-alone system, or is it an addition to, for example, your SaaS product? Is it a product for new customers or an extra service for your existing clients. Both options are great reasons to develop an application. Answers to these questions will significantly affect how the app should be developed, what are the core features and functions of it, on which platforms it should run, and what analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you should follow once the application goes live.
What are your application's competitors?
Ideas/concepts without direct competition are becoming increasingly scarce. Identify who are your direct competitors, or who could become. Discover how these companies solve the problem of your target audience. Notice where they succeed and where they fail. It shouldn’t be an app vs. app comparison. Just ask yourself the question, "How do the potential users of your app currently solve this problem?" That way, you will likely get a more insightful answer.
Are there things that need to be sorted out before the actual app development (coding) starts?
Ask yourself if you are sufficiently informed, prepared, and protected to start the development process. Has an NDA been signed? Are you insured for possible gaps in the development process? Or better yet, is your software developer insured for such matters?
Are there any restrictions that your software developer should be aware of?
Are there company guidelines with which your app should comply? For example, the design of the mobile app? Are there any restrictions on rendering in the app store. What compromises can you find to keep the “brand police” happy and get a little more space for creativity?
How many releases do you want to do?
Do you and other stakeholders plan to focus on an MVP as the first version of a product, with a roadmap for further development? Or is it a strategic necessity to launch an application that immediately offers end users an extensive range of functionality?
What is the backlog of functionality for the application to be developed?
Even if you choose not to work with an Agile approach while the application is being developed, it is still recommended to create a backlog with functionality that does not belong to the MVP. It is a useful way to separate essential functionality from the non-essential (additional) one. The benefit of it is much easier planning for future releases—both for the project development and budget devising.
Do you and your stakeholders have dormant assumptions about the application to be developed?
Are you or the stakeholders questioning whether the new application will work well on phones, tablets, and phablets? Should the applications resize automatically? Or not. Have you thought about backward compatibility? How far should your iOS developer go; to iOS 8? Or all the way back to 5? Should the application function offline? On Apple watch? Ask yourself what you think is “normal” when it comes to the functioning of an application. It’s even better to ask yourself (or them) what your intended target audience thinks regarding these questions.
Did you decide about hosting your application?
To begin with, do you already have an infrastructure? Are you satisfied with that, or would you prefer to host differently? Do you still need to host a marketing website for your new application? Have you thought about the security of stored company profiles? How do you want to deal with capacity, and have you thought about scalability? Are you aware of the advantages that the cloud offers over on-premise servers?
What data do you want to collect from the app?
Data is of vital importance. Eather the further development of the application or other needs, as, for example, digital marketing or even a press release. Have you defined the most important key metrics for such reports? What do you want to achieve with this data? How will you illustrate this? Some examples of data that could be useful to track for your app:
- The number of downloads
- The distribution between the different platforms
- How many users choose to use push notifications
- How many active users are there compared to the number of downloads?
- Which features are used the most?
- How often is the application used?
How will you monetize the application?
Is it a B2B, B2C, or maybe even a B2E app? What the solution you provide worth and who is going to pay for this solution? Do you plan to set a fee for the use of the application, do you opt for advertising revenue or do you go for in-app purchases? Have you ever thought about launching premium features?
When you have a strategy for monetizing your application, you can adjust the development process and backlog accordingly.
How will your customers, or end-users, pay (in) your application?
Does this question belong to the previous question about monetizing? No, this is something else. Which method will your customers and/or end-users use to fulfill their payment obligation? In other words, are they going to pay by card? Are they using Apple pay or Adyen? Which method is most used by your target audience?
What do you think is the best app in the world? What do you like about it the most?
Of course, you won’t copy something indiscriminately, but you can gain the inspiration! Ask yourself why you like how a particular app works, or why an application looks so great. Even if you are dealing with a fixed corporate identity, seeking and sharing inspiration is essential.
How will you ensure that your application will be found when it is launched?
This question is by no means relevant in all cases. If the new application is an addition to your existing SaaS or other digital product, you can relatively easily inform your customers about the launch. In other cases, it can be more complicated. Have you thought about the promotion of your app? Do you have enough data options built in to be able to analyze your app performance? What additional functionality does the application need to make your users evangelists? Can your team help you with AppStore optimization?
To end up
And here we are, if you can formulate answers to all these twenty questions, then you can start developing your new mobile application with confidence. For questions about mobile applications or about the realization of your idea, you can always make an appointment, we are here for you!