Posts

Understanding The Application Lifecycle

Application Lifecycle Management 

There is a beginning to everything. In fact, nothing comes into existence out of nothingness. The universe, for instance, as we understand, came to be through a massive eruption of energy known to science as the big-bang. While the creation of an application may not begin with a universal eruption, its conception is thrilling all the same. Whether this is your first-ever application, or your thousandth, understanding application lifecycle management will boost your workflow and elevate your efficiency from the start. 

There are three main aspects of application lifecycle management (ALM). Those three aspects are: 

  • Governance
  • Development and Deployment
  • Maintenance

These are the different phases of an application from start to finish. The first two phases are definite, while the last is ongoing. In other words, once the app is live – there will always be ongoing maintenance activities to perform. 

Having a strong grasp of application lifecycle management builds innate value into the business. This value emerges in the workflow, processes, and procedures all associated with application development. By understanding the application lifecycle, developers implement best-practices and industry standards into their design process, therefore boosting efficiency, and resulting in higher quality applications. 

Governance

Governance is the very first phase that begins the journey of an application. As soon as the app is conceptualized, the governance phase has begun. Governance, in this context, isn’t referring to the laws and rules of a nation. In a similar sense, however, governance in the context of app development refers to defining core aspects of the application. 

The elements that need to be defined in the governance phase of the application lifecycle management include a spectrum from function, to logic, and framework. In other words, this is the phase in which designers are able to verbally identify the various pathways, functions, and workflows. 

Having an idea of how the application is going to flow and function is crucial to entering the next phase of ALM. A good way to think about the governance phase of the application lifecycle is to imagine it as a blueprint. The blueprint informs the construction crew on how to actually raise the structure, the dimensions of the individual pieces, and how they all fit together. 

In the same vein, the governance phase of the application lifecycle should result in an easy-to-follow development roadmap. 

Development & Deployment in the Application Lifecycle

This is the phase following governance. Development and deployment are actually two halves to the whole. Development is the first piece in this phase. The development phase is where the application is actually built.

Additionally, there is a third aspect to development and deployment that impacts both phases: consumer and market testing. Testing is a not a formal phase of the application lifecycle management however, it is nonetheless critical to delivering applications that are of value and that consumers desire.

Delving Into Development

There are many aspects of the development phase. As such, this is arguably the most crucial phase in ALM. Since the development phase is equivalent to the actual construction phase in real estate development. In other words, developers are laying the foundation for the app. A strong foundation provides the platform for a well-designed and successful app. 

Developers have more on their plate than mere function however. App development teams task themselves with the visual design and work-flow of the application in addition to the functionality and usability. Once developers reach a certain level of baseline functionality, the application starts to enter the next half of this phase: testing and deployment. 

Testing

The first round of development yields an MVP: minimum viable product. Firms and developers use MVP’s as samples of the end-product in order to gain additional consumer insight. Companies use this insight to make important decisions on how to finish the development phase. 

In market-testing, consumers are asked about multiple aspects of the app. These aspects range from the aesthetic and color-scheme, to the actual function and usability of the app. 

After the focus groups and market-testing, the MVP returns to the developers with loads of notes, comments, and real consumer input. Developers use this invaluable insight in order to finish the build of the application and deliver a functional app that solves real consumer issues.

While it’s unwise to spend too long on any single phase of the application lifecycle, testing is certainly not an area to start cutting corners. Using focus groups and market-testing delivers immense value to the final development of the application. As such, these activities should actually be supplemented, if anything, in order to test the MVP on multiple demographics. 

Deployment

At this point, the application, its function and workflow, and its usability have been defined. The core build is tested, and the final development, influenced by consumer input and marketing test-groups, is complete. Finally, the sweet fruit of the labor is in reach, and the application lifecycle nears its final stage. 

The deployment of an application upon its completion is certainly not the most laborious of the phases, however it is very fickle. Firms need to start developing their deployment strategy in the early steps of the governance phase. This is because the governance phase will help dictate and define the proper channels of deployment to utilize. 

The testing phases will also contribute to developing the deployment strategy, as it will offer real insight into where consumers want to find the application, and how they will use it. Speaking to the core values of your main target-demographics, and ensuring that they have easy access to your application are crucial to releasing a successful application that draws consumers inward. 

Ongoing Maintenance

Ongoing application maintenance is crucial to user-retention and future user-acquisition. The application marketplace is already supersaturated with options for the consumer. As such, user-acquisition and user-retention are already hyper-competitive areas. User retention is especially important because it forms the regular user-base for the application. 

Since a robust regular user-base is one of the most valuable commodities in the application market, maintaining this user-base is critical to longevity. This is, in part, due to how fickle user-ship is in the application market. Users are prone to jump to a competitor with a stronger user-experience after a single negative interaction with an application. 

This type of rapid turn-over puts a strong emphasis on user-loyalty. Beyond that, if applications are left unmaintained and unattended to, their functionality will deteriorate, their security protocols will begin to weaken, and users will swiftly abandon ship. 

The Benefits of Application Lifecycle Management

The application lifecycle begins with ideation and governance, moves through development, testing and deployment, and ends with on-going maintenance. Developing applications by putting them through these different phases occurs naturally. However, identifying the phases and understanding how they relate to one another allows companies to build stronger and more efficient workflows. 

Firms can customize the workflow to fit their specific needs, while still adhering to best-practices and industry-recognized standards. Following through on the phases and their associated actions ensures that released applications are thoroughly vetted, and ready for mass use.

Look no further than NS804 for help developing and supplementing your firm’s ALM practices. NS804 is the mobile app developer of the everyday person. As such, NS804 commits to making mobile app development services more accessible than ever before. For anything related to mobile app development, visit NS804 today.