Agile Methodology: 5 Phases of Mobile App Development

The world has gone mobile, and there’s no going back. Nearly 200 billion apps are downloaded each year, with users engaging with an average of 9 apps each day. With more and more digital content being consumed on smartphones and mobile devices, smart companies are vying to keep pace in the evolving technological world.

The revolution began in 2014, when the number of mobile users surpassed desktop and laptop users. In response, Google’s algorithm began favoring responsive web design and mobile-friendly websites. Utilizing new technology in smartphones, trends like voice search, AI, and mobile apps have exploded onto the market. Now, if your business isn’t mobile-friendly, it’s likely losing at least 50% of potential leads right off the bat -- a statistic which isn’t viable for future success.

Why Develop a Mobile App for your Business?

Apps are now standard for large companies, with businesses like Facebook, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Starbucks finding innovative ways to generate sales and engagement through the unique capabilities of mobile apps. Apps allow a business to directly connect to the end-user, even creating push notifications to stay on the front page of a smartphone, and adding gamification like badges and rewards for customers who stay active on their apps.

Smaller local businesses like local news stations, exercise studios, educational programs, job agencies, non-profits, and local event venues are also discovering financial growth through app development. The sheer simplicity and overall “stickiness” of apps makes them desirable for building a brand, pushing out information like new discounts or upcoming events, and generating passive revenue through online sales or in-app microtransactions.

With mobile phones and apps, companies can fit all their services into their customers’ pockets and directly connect with them no matter where they are.

Time Investment and Cost of Mobile App Development

The best way to break down the overall costs of building a mobile app is to look at the overall time investment involved. And the best way to break down the time investment is to look at what’s involved in each phase of mobile app development.

Apps usually have a longer development phase than websites. Depending on the type of app--native, hybrid, or web--the overall time frame has the potential to vary widely. However, a good estimation for a v.1.0 app is around 4-6 months. Let’s take a closer look at what happens during that time frame.

Stages of Mobile App Development

Most mobile app development teams will use an Agile methodology to organize each phase of development. Each phase is slightly different, but overall this framework acts the same in each phase. We begin by having a deep-dive communication about the customer’s needs and vision. During this discussion, we set up agreed upon milestones. Then we move in two-week long “sprints”, during which time we focus heavily on coding and building all that’s been discussed. At that point, we show our current progress, and have another in-depth discussion about how to move forward. Then, we set up new milestones and sprint again. This process allows us to work steadily and efficiently through each phase, but not get too deep before checking that we are still moving in the desired direction.

A complex app with many features may require more time to build than simple apps with a narrow scope.

While every project is different, here is a basic overview of the stages of app development.

1. Discovery Stage - Three Weeks

This fundamental stage is critical for the overall success of the app.

During this stage, you should be formulating the overall concept of your app. As with all marketing campaigns, begin by defining the target audience. Once you know who your app is being designed for, have marketing teams research the target demographic, determining things like:

  • How old is the target demographic?
  • What other current trends are popular with this audience?
  • What kinds of apps do they already use?
  • What are some popular features of those apps?
  • What price point does that demographic typically spend on apps?
  • How will you monetize the app?
  • What marketing technology will your app need? Microtransactions? Gamification? Push notifications? Voice recognition? GPS? Social media integration?
  • Where will you sell your app?
  • How will you promote your app?
  • Is your app competitive in its intended market?
  • What similar apps already exist?

By the time your market research is done, you will ideally know the weaknesses, strengths, threats, and opportunities that will define your strategy and business plan for your mobile app.

2. Planning Stage - One Month

The Planning Stage is commonly more technical and complex than the Discovery Stage. Now that you have a market analysis, you should have an idea of what kinds of features to include, how to configure the app, and whether or not you’ll develop as a native app, a hybrid app, or a progressive web app. You’ll also choose between iOS or Android -- or both.

It’s time for wireframes. Developers will sketch a rough draft of the app layout, including features like a search menu, login screen, social media sharing buttons, profile building options, GPS, voice capabilities, e-commerce and cart features, and more.

3. Development Stage - One to Two Months

Once all the wireframes are drawn and you’ve determined the functionality and features of your app, it’s time for the development team to start building the app.

First, the Graphic Design team will need some time to create icons and buttons to give your app a uniquely branded and visually stunning appearance. This is called the User Interface (UI). The UI is critical for ensuring your app stands out in the market.

Then, developers will begin working on the Front and Back End development in two-week sprints. Then, developers will often pause to show their progress, get approval from the client, and then sprint again.

4. Testing Stage - One to Two Weeks

Your app is almost done, and we know you’re eager to get it on the market! However, it’s important to take some time to check for bugs. During this time, the development team will essentially “use” the app as if they were an end-user. They’ll test logging in, push notifications, navigating the menu -- essentially clicking every link, video, or image there is to click!

Everytime something fishy happens, the developer will add it to the “Bug List.” Then, the team will go back through and fix each bug. After that, they’ll comb through it again one final time, to make sure the functionality is seamless and speedy, providing a great user experience for your first customers.

5. Updates - Ongoing

Ever notice how many apps have a v.2.0 or more? If your goal is a seamlessly perfect mobile app, which never crashes, offers ever-evolving services, and becomes part of your customers’ daily lives -- updates are expected. That’s why popular apps like Facebook, Netflix, and Candy Crush have regular updates on your mobile device.

Once your app has launched, the development team will gather post-launch feedback and create necessary changes. Now, it’s time to launch a great mobile app marketing strategy and see how your app is received by your clients. Updates are often part of a successful app strategy.

Is Your Company Ready for a Mobile App?

If your company is ready to expand into the world of mobile apps, the developers at Innuy are experienced and up to the task! Whether you’re looking for Native or Hybrid technologies, our team specializes in Javascript: ReactJS & Node.js to build robust interactive apps with real-time environments.

Our team specializes in providing affordable web development from Latin America--often costing 30-50% less than developers in the US. Innuy’s developers can serve as your primary mobile app development team or as a supplement to your current team. Call us at +1 252 723 5982 or contact us to learn more today!


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