So you've decided to develop a mobile app. Great choice! As we (and others) have pointed out in plenty of previous blog posts, the rising popularity of smartphones, tablets, and wearables will only make mobile applications more important in coming months and years. We're now past the tipping point in the seemingly endless "mobile vs. desktop" debate, as mobile internet usage surpassed its desktop counterpart for the first time last year.
In other words, it's a great time to get your marketing strategy ready for 2016 by developing a mobile app. But the next step is just as important: picking the right one among the plethora of mobile application development companies to get your app as close to what you want and need as possible. Distinguishing the countless companies out there can be difficult, so we want to help! Here are three distinguishing factors that you should keep in mind when shopping your project around.
1) Agile vs. Waterfall
Just how does the app developer get your app to the finish line? Traditionally, most companies have subscribed to a linear "waterfall" method in which one step is created after the next, with testing being done as the project nears completion. Of course, as you can probably imagine, this method can be too rigid to be successful. For example, you may run into timeline or budget issues that you can do little about once you discover them. At that point, you just have to move forward, knowing that your app will be finished late or over budget.
That's why developers like us have begun to move away from the rigid "waterfall" method and toward a more agile philosophy. In this development process, we break your app project into separate pieces that can be developed at the same time. This allows for increased corporation between the individual designers, coders as well as the client, who can have more input into the development process. Another advantage of agile development is a focus on testing, which can be done throughout the process. This increased flexibility ultimately means a greater chance of finishing a more well-tested app on time, and on budget.
2) Clients vs. Partners
Most developers, like most B2B service providers, follow the strict parameters of an agency-client relationship. You give them the budget and a set of instructions, and they'll (hopefully) deliver the project on time. Communication is kept to status updates.
Of course, this method has several shortfalls. After all, it's in a developer's best interest to create the best product possible, and it can only do so with open two-way communication channels. That's why we believe in a partner relationship with our clients, which includes a more open communication flow as well as the next crucial point:
3) To-Completion vs. Life-Cycle
What happens when your app is finished? Does the developer hand it off, wipe his hands clean and move on to the next client? Probably, but as any mobile marketer knows, the completion point of an app is from its end point. Continuous updates will be necessary as your business expands or changes its offerings, as well as fixing the inevitable bugs that even the greatest amount of testing wasn't able to find.
That's why we strongly believe that in order to build an agency-client relationship that's a close partnership, we want to stay with your business and your app until the end of its lifecycle. That means keeping those communication channels open even after the app is completed, being able to make updates and follow its success for as long as you need.
As you can see, there may be a variety of mobile app development companies out there - but they don't all operate nearly on the same level. So when looking to get your app developed, be sure that you find a developer who matches your preference in terms of agile vs. waterfall, treats you as a partner rather than a client, and is willing to follow your app's entire lifecycle. And if you're ready for just that developer, we'd love to have a word! Contact us to get the conversation started.