Over the course of 15 years, I’ve vetted many software development and design companies. I was fortunate to build long-term working relationships with some of my external project team members. But with the rapid evolution of technology, I had to make some adjustments and find new software development partners that were able to keep up with the demands of the market.
I quickly learned that not all software developers are the same even though the technology may be. This lesson resulted from a project that had many complications and ultimately failed.
Although I was able to adjust and learn from the mistakes, I continued to hear about similar issues I had whether it was a web application, mobile application or enterprise solution.
So what were issues?
Here are 5 common pitfalls when creating an app (and how to avoid them):
1. Finding the right company for the project:
Sounds simple, right? Competition is fierce in the software development industry due to outsourcing, an incredible amount of local talent and tech startups. You don’t want to be oversold with your project being undervalued.
How to avoid this pitfall: There are 3 key deciding factors for any project: cost, quality and timing. Decide which factors are most important to you and focus on finding a partner that has proven experience in meeting that requirement while being flexible on the least important option. It can be challenging (or impossible) to find a company that can check off the 3 factors without making adjustments to one of them along the way (scope creep).
*If you have an event and need an application as part of a launch, additional resources may be needed which means more money to meet your deadlines and deliver the best product. Are you willing to compromise your project to stick to a specific cost?
2. Clearly defining the scope of work:
Defining the scope of work is probably one of the hardest parts of a project but the most critical in ensuring bids can be compared properly. If three companies propose similar costs and timing yet one proposes figures that are well under, either the latter company didn’t understand the scope or they are lowballing to get the project.
How to avoid this pitfall: Consider working with a company to help you define the scope of work before requesting bids. It will cost you for the time but you can compare quotes better. There are many UX/UI designers and front-end developers that can help you map out your project.
*If you decide to retain a company to help with the scope of work, first have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. Although the company may do a great job of helping with the scope, that company should still bid if they want to get the job.
3. Simplifying the process:
I’ve heard people say: “It’s simple, it shouldn’t be expensive.” The problem is that if you undervalue your project, so will the project bidders. Let the experts tell you if it is simple or not. If you stick to fixed terms with the perception that the job is “simple”, you will find that software development is anything but fixed which will result in more fees, a delayed release or a poor quality project.
How to avoid this pitfall: The reason some apps work so well is because there has been time and expertise put into the backend that users do not see. If budget is an issue, consider a phased approach to your project and develop an MVP (minimum viable product). It contains the basic features, allows for proof of concept and testing the product can actually help make the full version much more successful.
*Simplifying the process of the project to get a company to lower the cost will end up hurting your project in the end or costing you more.
4. Lack of project management:
The company I worked with had some solid development experience, but there wasn’t a designer or project manager. It was hard to get responses to questions, updates or discuss issues. The project dragged on a year after launch due to lack of resources.
How to avoid this pitfall: When requesting bids, ensure that you request information about all of the project team members. Who is your point of contact? How often will you be updated on the progress? Does the company work within an agile environment? Ensure that the core team doesn’t have more than one role with your project without reason.
*Regardless of the level of expertise in any company, having you, the client, engaged in the project is critical for the success. Having check-ins will help catch any potential issues and ensure the project is meeting your expectations.
5. Expecting immediate results:
You’ve done a great job of defining the scope of work, you’ve found a great development partner, the project is ready to launch and now it’s time to watch it go viral, right? Your job isn’t done quite yet. How do you plan to market your project? How can you reach your consumers to tell them about the project?
How to avoid this pitfall: Develop a product roadmap that includes user research and how to reach them. Work with a company that has as much interest and experience in strategy as development (not just in theory).
*User-centered design means that you will launch a product that can actually be used by your target market which in turn can result in a more successful product.
Ok, so now you have a clear idea of some pitfalls in software development. Now what? Well, what are your project needs? Do you just need an MVP to help secure funding? Are you launching a new product and need an app? Are you budget restricted?
It would be easy to just reach out to any company and get your project going. However, you need to do research and have your goals and scope of work clearly outlined as a first step. If you do, you will be in a better position to determine if a company is interested in the success of your project or just getting the project.
Bliss Applications has dedicated strategists and analysts to help work with you to determine your goals and needs. Get in touch to chat about bringing your project to life: Contact Us.