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5 Things to Know Before You Have a Developer Build Your App


There are many different approaches to finding an app developer. LinkedIn has great groups, AppFutura has a large listing. Friends & colleagues might “know some people”. And then there’s always Google. What you find will be overwhelming and often times ranging from independent software developers to established software development companies. As you’re vetting developers, it helps to have the following details figured out to help guide your conversations and ultimate decision regarding development of your app:

  1. Budget
    • Most people don’t like talking about money. But in the end, you need to set a budget, which will determine what features are in, and what functionality might come later. Be aware that most projects generate “feature creep” as your idea matures and evolves. You likely won’t be the exception. Simply leave some buffer in the budget to accommodate a degree of on-going tweaks and changes.
  2. Target Platforms
    • Do you really need to support every last platform (iOS, Android, Windows, phone, tablet etc.) or can you start testing your idea by focusing on just one platform? If you’re looking to build a proof of concept for an investor, a single platform is usually sufficient.
  3. Website
    • Will you need a companion web page? You might start with something as simple as some static content and a link to download the app. Or you might want a more heavily designed, fully responsive web site. Your idea might require both management and administrative portals. Remember, all of these should be included in your budget considerations.
  4. Design
    • Have you thought about design for both your application and website? Whether you’re hiring a designer yourself, or your development team has a designer in-house, you should be thinking about design early on. If you’ve begun wireframing, that’s great! The more you can bring to the table, the faster you’ll receive finished designs, and subsequently, a finished application. And fewer design iterations mean less strain on the budget.
  5. Hosting
    • Developers will often build out a custom backend (server side) solution to host your app and content. Remember, you’re ultimately paying for the time and effort that goes into this. A more efficient approach is to go with a ready-made mobile backend. The good news is that you have lots of choices available, typically, as a monthly or annual subscription. Evaluate your options, compare available features and make sure the backend has some real use cases to show for it (after all, you probably don’t want your idea to be the guinea pig!).

The above covers general app development, but once your app is live, what about marketing, performance management and analytics, security, etc.? Have a brief discussion with your developer to learn about integrations with third party solutions to meet the post development needs.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many entrepreneurs across many industries in need of mobile apps. Based on this experience, I’ve found the above to be a helpful starting point for anyone who is engaged in conversations with an app developer. If you have additional considerations or points you think should make this list, I’d love to hear from you! Email me at vishal@raweng.com.

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