You have a great app idea for your business or your weekend side project. Now what?
Ok so you have jotted down some ideas but you just don’t know how to flesh it out on the page.
So you do some research online and you document your creative ideas. Ok that’s a great start!
You create a personal or business budget and now you are ready to make an app. You decide to find a freelance developer to work on your project. Bad Idea!
Let me give you an analogy
Imagine you want to build a house from scratch.
You will need all kinds of people involved in the project to create your house right? All kinds of tradesmen that specialise in certain components of the house will be required for such a large project. For example, plumbers, electricians, surveyors and bricklayers to name a few. But even before that, we you will an architect or someone who oversees the design and development of the whole process. The architect and interior designer will need to understand your needs and wants and then create a house design that meets all of these requirements. The more specific and detailed the requirements and layout of the house is, the easier it is for the builders to come and install the walls, tiles, window frames etc. All the builders need to do is to work off the specifications provided to them. There will be less chance of error and catastrophic design issues later down the track. The more planning done earlier in the project, the less issues there will be as the project draws near to the end. The project manager will also make sure that the project will not go over time and over budget. They will also keep in contact with you with the progress that is being made.
You see where I am going with this right?
Developing an app is a lot like building a house
A developer specialises in only a small (but important) part of the whole process of developing an app. Developers aren’t magical unicorns who can do everything. Instead, developers are a lot like the builders in our house analogy. A simplified view is that developers specialise in writing code to create the software. However, to create a successful and beloved app, a lot more planning and thinking is required. To create an app that is fully functional and provides the best experience for your users, you need a whole development team to help you on the way.
You will need a consultant to help you with your business idea. Remember those ideas you jotted down earlier?
Now a Project Manager or a Business Analyst will need to help you write your business requirements. They will help you translate your ideas into details that the developer can work off. This is much like the builder working off the building scaffold created by the architect. They can also provide you with new ideas and insight that you may not have thought of. The consultation process will also help you give you a better understanding of the scope of the project, budget, thoughts on on-going maintenance, online security considerations, and future project development road-maps. A freelancer developer can offer you all of these things but a professional consultant will do a much more thorough job. This will make a huge difference later down the track. The ground work needs to be solid.
Industry Experience and specialised expertise skills
As a bare minimum, to create a “reasonable” app, you will need a graphic designer with UX expertise, a full-stack developer and a project manager.
Unless you have experience in development or design, it would be wise to leave these areas to people who specialise in them. This will free up moreof your time to oversee the whole project.
Remember, no projects will be all smooth sailing. All development projects will come across problems along the way. Some projects will even face multiple bottle-neck issues. A development team from a broad range of expertise will be able to quickly diagnose the issue and find accessible solutions to move the project forward.
Learn from other people’s mistakes
Commerce Lab has had a number of clients who came to us with half finished projects after working with a freelance developer. One client in particular approached us because they were fed up with the communication issues they had with their developer. The developer was technically very capable but wasn’t able to fully grasp the ideas of the client.
The successfulness of a complex task such as mobile app development actually lies in good communication. Having technical expertise in different languages is a must but it isn’t enough to build a great app. A lot of precious time can be saved if everyone is on the same page I.e clients, designers, project managers, developers. The project will run more smoothly when the direction and scope of the project is clear. The layout and functions of the app has been planned out. The specialists understand their role in the building the job. The nitty-gritty details are in tact. This is the equation for a successful for a project.