Custom App Development: Balancing Costs and Quality

In the app development world, there is an undeniable correlation between the amount of resources available and the quality of the application businesses are able to build. Ample resources allow for the hiring of a team of mobile app developers who can deliver the app more quickly and who possess the right mix of technical skills to handle the work at hand.

Ideally, every development project should only start when sufficient resources are available. However, this is rarely the case. Strained resources call for innovative ways to approach development projects. Some of these include building partnerships and joint-ownership models where the developer gets to own and benefit from the product they build. In other cases, hiring offshore developers from countries where the cost of labor is lower than in North America is an option. However, this comes with unique concerns about app security and project management.




The Trade-Off Between Cost and Quality

The risk of cost-cutting in the initial development phase is a huge topic on its own. Subpar developer skills and insufficient testing can lead to bugs and the need for an overhaul of an entire project soon after launch. The need for frequent updates is also likely to result in a poor experience for users. Multiple downtimes can lead an app to lose users thus directly impacting revenue and the reputation of a business.

In contrast, investing sufficient resources towards a project can lead to long-term savings through reduced maintenance and maximum availability of the application. Long-term inspired applications are built to be scalable such that rapid growth will not result in service interruptions. The development can even have a product roadmap where new features are added in each subsequent iteration of the same app.

How then can an organization achieve balance in their software development project?  In this article, we highlight important markers you can use to help your business build a successful app without going over the budget.

Clear Definition of the Project Scope

From the onset, it is important that the promoters identify the specific requirements of the project. A single project should not attempt to solve too many problems because this will lead to a loss of focus. The promoters must conduct sufficient market research for their idea, and validate it, and only then should they consider developing the app. The development team can then come up with a clear roadmap for the project, with clear deliverables for each iteration.

Such an approach prevents project creep, which is defined as the emergence of deliverables that are unplanned for leading to cost overruns. Project creep is difficult to prevent because it may feel like an improvement on the project but it could also sabotage the entire project should the budget run out. In order to get the project scope right, it is important to involve all stakeholders from the onset so that you have detailed requirements.

Agile Development Technique

Adopting the agile methodology in project development ensures that there are clear objectives in each sprint. Most of these sprints are weekly or biweekly. It ensures there are clear milestones to be reached throughout the life of a project. It takes off the need to attempt to do everything at once, which can result in spreading out resources too thin. Another advantage of this approach is the fact that there are frequent meetings with the client for updates. If there are discrepancies between what is delivered and what was requested, adjustments can be made promptly before they become irreversible.

Proper Testing

During the planning of the entire project, it is important for the team to set aside sufficient resources and time for testing of the app and fixing issues found during such testing. Unfortunately, it is easy for such testing to be misinterpreted as a waste of resources. However, testing of new features during each sprint can prevent issues from affecting the project down the road.  The team must see must testing as an investment that prevents fire-fighting costs in the future.

Skills Development

If a company has an in-house development team, it is important to set aside resources for their continuous learning and skills development. This ensures that the team has up-to-date skills and can use emerging tools for the benefit of the company’s products. Companies that invest in continuous learning are likely to benefit from internal innovation. Staff can make more informed decisions when it comes to solving problems and building future-proof products.

Open-Source Tools

The software development landscape today is such that numerous open-source tools exist as an alternative to proprietary tools for fulfilling different solutions in your project. Open-source tools are free to use and a community of users maintain and improve them. In addition, there are many instances in projects where existing third-party APIs and software modules can be more useful than building features from scratch.

Thorough Risk Analysis

Risk analysis in mobile application development involves assessing potential threats to the delivery of a particular project.  If you document these risks you can mitigate them effectively. For instance, if there is a likelihood of that a project may not meet the initially set deadlines, you can make adjustments and communications in advance. Contingency plans might also include getting people with exclusive skills or added experience to come on board a project as consultants.

Quality Assurance

Beyond the testing for bugs in the code of an application, quality assurance involves posing questions about meeting customer expectations. At every step of the development process, the team ensures there are quality assurance processes in place. The team must check everything against the detailed project deliverables document. Both manual and automated testing processes must be implemented.




Work with NS804 for a Proper Cost and Quality Balance

At NS804, we thoroughly understand the challenges that businesses face when taking on monumental app development projects. There are always important projects competing for resources and a clear ROI must be seen when directing resources in a particular direction.

We help our clients, first by helping them come up with a clearly defined problem to solve. We then work with them to design a solution that best fits that problem. With the issue of resources in mind, we then work with the client to define a project scope and a timeline for delivery. A project liaison officer helps the client stay briefed throughout the life of the project.

Beyond the initial delivery of the project, the NS804 team is often happy to stay on board, on request, to assist with maintenance and future iterations of the clients’ apps. With a roadmap, clients are able to plan for new features for their apps, in line with the strategic directions that their businesses intend to take.

NS804 has a team of vastly experienced and talented mobile app developers which ensures all projects meet world-class quality standards. If you would like to talk to us about your next mobile application project, please reach out to us through our website. Our team would be happy to discuss how we can bring your idea to life and within the scope of resources available.

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