Hello sir, How do I Reduce Mobile App Development Cost? A friend who started a new business once asked me this question. My response to her was really not easy. I thought about it for some time then I decided to make a research on it. It’s not new to us that developing mobile apps is not a cheap endeavor at all. If you contact an app developer for an app, the outrageous amount could send you running far away. Due to this fact, new entrepreneurs and already established firms are always trying to figure out how to reduce app development cost. However, people need affordable app, while at the same time not forfeiting the quality of the output.
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That being said, I and my team decided to write this detailed response to answer my friend’s question. Also, my team believes this article will be helpful not only to your clients as an app developer, but also to all those people who has kin interest to create an app for their businesses.
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Let me remind you that awkwardly, there may not be numerous options available, since in real life, creating a fully-fledged mobile application consumes time, requires effort, skill, patience and thus funds.
1. Know the Requirements of your Business
First of all, do you know that a focused and detailed business requirement analysis is vital to the success of any app development project? If you lack consistent data, it can lead to frequent project changes during the app development. I have seen situations where there is inconsistencies between business needs and the work of the app development team. Keep in mind that inconsistency will definitely lead to task delays and also causes an increase in costs. In the light of this, you have to gather the requirements and save them in the form of documentation. I assure you that this will allow the app development team to understand exactly what the client’s business purpose is. It’s true that draft modifications and mistakes are inevitable during the development process, however if you have a clear and detailed documentation, errors and corrections will be reduced. Also know about the offshore outsourcing and agile development best practices as a developer.
My advice to you is to always give preference to those regulation bodies who pay attention especially in specific requirement analysis. You should approach an experienced experts in your field will assist you to describe what you need. Business analysts can correctly help you formulate your requirements so that they are consistent throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). As a matter of fact, you have to make sure that even the slightest detail is not unnoticed. In turn, the developer team will then translate the business requirements into tech specifications (tech requirements). They do work on this this while making sure there’s no confusion between what is actually needed and what they will design for the client.
2. Save Money on App development, not on development team
As has been stated above, it is unfortunate, that there very few options available, since in real life developing a reliable and easy to use application takes a lot of time, effort, skill, patience and thus some cash.
Like my friend who called me to inquire about the cost for developing a mobile app, she doesn’t want to spend too much. Certainly, the first thing that came to her mind about cost savings in mobile app development is to hire the cheapest development firm she could find.
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However, from experience, tech firms that offer their services at questionably low prices, may have either little or no experience all. Some of them might be new in the field and are trying their best to win their first clients and “get into the business”. (I’m not saying it’s wrong to hire a firm that is trying to gain space in the market share – I don’t discourage startups). But regularly, for such firms, you may be the first person to try out their skills, which comes with lots of errors.
Potential drawbacks of App Cost
New firms with little or no experience may not have well-established business processes, and are typically understaffed for different tasks. Don’t be surprised that they will experiment more on your product than actually develop the app for your business. Hence, they will spend too much time getting the job done than would be expected of them. Furthermore, you may not be guaranteed that they will even complete the job at all! Thus, what will you do then? Finally, you will have no other option than to hire another more experienced app development team to finish your app or even start afresh.
Situation like this is usually found with people who hire freelancers to develop apps for them. Sometimes these freelancers deliver a good job (very few cases), sketchy job and bad jobs. However, there are fewer guarantees of getting the app to function correctly as required, job delivered on time and within your budget. These and a whole lot of issues, not to mention the legal risks, such as: the absence of the employment contract, non-disclosure issues, billing document; payment issues. Also, there’s no guarantee that the job for which you want to pay for will be executed.
Saving Money without tempering the App quality
There are cases where people loose quality of their app due to amount they paid the developer. Some developer will not deliver a quality job if you under pay them. However, there’s only one way to lessen development costs without losing quality. The way forward is through offshore and near-shore outsourcing firms. The offshoring and near-shoring is benefit-able because you can hire a reputable and decent software and app development firm with well-established business processes in some countries where hourly rates do apply. These firms can provide a team of experienced and highly skilled devoted developers to work entirely on your project and provide all the necessary guarantees for the job.
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Do not forget that there are also other more effective methods of reducing mobile app development prices apart from taking the “cheapest” route with developers you see.
Similarly, there is a win-win approach where you can hire an offshore outsourcing provider with experience in developing similar products to yours. Before you begin, you ask them what development practices and techniques they can suggest on your behalf to reduce expenses. We will discuss this in the next title.
3. Iterative development
The usual methodology suggests the development of all planned app features first, then test the app and go ahead to optimize it for the open market. As you proceed, some features may not be so vital for your app or may even be rejected at the testing stage, you still to spend a good amount of time implementing them. You can make use of the Agile methodology because it is considered to be a much better solution as regards to reducing risks and costs.
It is highly recommended for you to create a long-term vision, dividing the entire project into smaller stages (iterations) and progressively adding new features with each new iteration. The use of Agile methodology helps the entire project to be divided into lesser, easily manageable sets of features. All the sets will be developed, tested, and deployed through iterative cycles known as “sprints” in tech world. Iterative development helps a lot because whenever there’s a need to change or add something to the project, the team can reply and adjust quickly and professionally. They can efficiently adapt these changes without re-planning and restructuring the entire project to fit it in, therefore saving their time and your money.
4. Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
You must have noticed apps on your mobile phone requesting for updates from time to time. Why? It’s because the owners add up new features from time to time. Therefore, it’s sensible to launch the first version of your app with little or medium functionality. You can simply implement the fundamental idea, then you can implement secondary features into the product. I certainly assure you that this technique really pays off for new apps. Reason is because it allows you to evaluate the market demand for your product and services then determine whether or not customers are willing to employ your service or buy your product.
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Later, you can begin addition of all secondary features after you have verified that the demand exists and you start receiving incomes. Please note that MVP actually goes hand in hand with agile methodology. They are not just to lessen costs but also protects you against any possible disappointment. You can also make research on the Mistakes to Avoid When Developing an MVP.
5. Cross-platform development
The cross-platform development can be a wonderful cost saver to you my friend. Yes, this is definitely true, but, only if the app you need is not a complex one. It applies here if the app doesn’t use native interfaces and if it doesn’t require hardware integration. If so, it may affect its performance and users will not accept it. I have seen several cases where cross-platform development has helped clients reduce development costs.
Meanwhile you should ask your development team the following questions when deciding the app cost:
- Can my app be implemented using cross-platform development?
- Will performance suffer?
Their answers will help you make a decision and if the odds are in favor of cross-platform development, then it is recommended that you go ahead and hire them.
6. Make use of already-made solutions
There are some basic options and methods that has ready been created, tested and deployed, so why reinvent a new one? Given these points, some UI features could be implemented using pre-built templates that only need to be customized to a preferred display. Also, there are various third party WaaS (Whatever as a Service) providers, from SaaS (Software as a Service) to BaaS (Backup as a Service) that provide ready-to-use solutions free of charge or for a monthly/yearly subscription fee. The most popular among them are the mapping and payment services feature.
For example, instead of creating your own custom push notification functionality you may use Puship plugin for iOS and Android, which is a third party push-notification.
On the other hand, you could make use of Google Cloud Platform (PaaS) which will offer you with back-end services such as: automatically scaling your app, user authentication, synchronizing data across devices, memcache, sharing and processing data from multiple users, sending notifications and messages, etc.
Nevertheless, you should take into cognizance that a lot of such services integrated into an application may cause you apps to unstable and may have bad scalability. This is the reason why they should be used judiciously and within sensible extent. Uniquely, if you are working with an experienced app and software development team, they already know which solutions can be used and to what limit.
7. Regular Supervision and Interaction
If you hire a developer firm to create an app for you, you must constantly communicate with the team. Don’t take chances of putting all of your hopes into you project managers! They are humans with their own problems and making mistakes are inevitable. They may even overlook some important issues which may cause delays in fixing them. As the owner, you must test every new build of your application by yourself, because there may be some minor deviations from the main objectives. You will agree with me that it will be much cheaper to address those issues while they are “fresh & under development” rather than noticing and fixing them after the app has been launched online.
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Conclusion on App Cost
In the 7 steps above, I have taken time to summarize steps on how you can reduce your app development cost without losing its value. On the whole, all of the above-mentioned techniques for reducing mobile app development costs will let you to launch the first version of your application. You can now do this without any major loss of quality and on budget. Finally, if you currently put your app project in the hands of a reputed offshore outsourcing provider that puts into practice all these techniques mention above, you won’t have to worry at all!
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In our next article, we will feature the following
- First, How to Create a Mobile App Specification
- Second, 5 Reasons to Outsource Only Top-Notch Startups Know About
- Third, Types of outsourcing: Local, Nearshore, Offshore. Pros and cons.
- Lastly, Creating an MVP that can get your startup funded