Mobile App Development Lifecycle: Key Phases and Management Tips
When speaking about mobile application development, many users (and, to be honest, some IT specialists) mean primarily the creation and debugging of applications’ code. There was a time when such a perspective was fairly close to the truth. However, the market of digital products and services has since grew in scope and complexity. Nowadays, mobile application development consists of not only and not so much of writing code, but also processes that both precede and follow programming. Let’s discuss these further.
Seven Mobile App Development Phases
Just like living beings, mobile applications follow a typical lifecycle moving from the idea inception to imminent death. Each of the mobile app development phases requires a different type of management to bring the most out of it. Here are the 7 lifecycle stages that mobile apps have:
Mobile App Planning
At the stage of mobile app planning, the idea of an app is born and discussed. You have to define well the objectives of the app and the functionality that will have to be implemented to achieve them. To be perfectly honest, this stage usually takes much longer and costs more than clients expect. So, it might be helpful to think about all the time you invest here as the time that you will save in the following stages.
Mobile App Development
At this stage, designers and programmers in a mobile app development company work side by side to materialize the app idea in a coherent way keeping user requirements in the mind.
Mobile App Testing Process
The stage consists of testing the app to ensure it has great usability and is error-free. When all the bugs are eliminated, the app can be presented to users.
Ensuring Data Security
Data security is another important aspect of mobile application lifecycle management. Management of access rights and adoption of personal data security measures are important aspects that need to be addressed before the app can be released to the audience.
Launch and Marketing
Once the product is finished, decisions need to be made about the mode of distribution for an app, preferred mobile app distribution platforms, as well as what performance metrics and analytics to track for app usage.
Maintenance and Improvement
At this stage, the owners need to track the app usage statistics and optimize the app for better performance, as well as pay for maintenance of the infrastructure such as cloud-based services.
New app development trends often make older apps obsolete. The closure of business may also result in the apps that are no longer maintained. It is critical to remove such from open access.
Ignoring this aspect can lead to security issues as well as a terrible user experience if clients mistakenly believe they are dealing with the current version of the application. Thus, at this stage of mobile app development, it is necessary to maintain a log of whitelist and blacklist apps and delete abandoned mobile applications. Making and executing ‘end of life’ choices for the applications in an auspicious way you take care of your reputation and show due respect to past and future users.
Best Practices for Mobile App Lifecycle Management
The role of mobile app development phases above will vary depending on the product you want to get. Completely new services would require more time and resources for conceptualizing and planning whereas an enterprise mobile app may take a toll on resources during maintenance. Nevertheless, some principles are universally applicable. Here are the best practices for the management of various stages of a mobile app’s life.
According to analysts, almost 30% of the project budget goes to what is called a rework of the application. While some of these expenses are an expected part of the mobile app development lifecycle, more than 80% of this work is associated with incorrectly or inaccurately formulated requirements.
The correction of these mistakes is usually quite expensive. For this reason, close attention should be paid to requirements management. The availability of a convenient requirements management tool greatly simplifies the creation of project documentation and streamlines the technical stages such as the mobile app testing process.
Data Security Considerations
The importance of data security is difficult to overstate. In the case of an enterprise mobile app that would be entrusted with proprietary information, this will probably seem self-evident. However, data protection security is just as critical, if not more so, in customer-oriented products.
There are already plenty of examples where data security issues resulted in massive leaks of sensitive user information, and the list keeps growing. Not only does it deal a massive blow to the company’s reputation, but also requires considerable resources for mitigating the aftermath. In this light, paying attention to aspects of data security during the mobile app development process makes sense both economically and socially.
Management of App Implementation
Application implementation is one of the most important components of a project’s success. Here, it is important to choose a technology that will provide the best experience for developers and will stay current during the whole mobile app lifecycle. What’s more, the choice of a cross-platform technology like React Native or Xamarin will save the development time and cost defining the time to market of an app. For this purpose, top mobile app development companies use cross-platform technologies and code for various operating systems at the same time.
Another thing to remember is that most projects enter the market as minimum viable products. Then, when users express interest in an app and its monetization model works well, additional features are developed. Thus, the best practice in mobile app implementation management is envisioning its scalability or integration of legacy systems with a new application.
Change management is carried out at all stages of a mobile application lifecycle. Changes can be needed in the requirements, in the code, and in the up-and-running systems. It is difficult to manage a project without tracking changes. The project managers must be aware of what is happening at each stage and what has already been implemented in the project; otherwise, they risk not completing the project on time.
To solve this problem, you can use a proper enterprise project management tool that saves all the necessary data in a centralized repository and optimizes the interaction of employees responsible for various tasks. Project management tools provide the project team with everything needed for every stage of mobile app development, including publishing requirements, task management, planning, working, discussing changes, version control, and organizing workflow.
A Note on Enterprise Mobile Apps
Enterprise mobile application development is a complex process. Without formulated requirements, as a rule, it is practically impossible to properly organize work on a project or even understand whether the customers wanted to get exactly what was implemented. In addition, more attention should be paid to enterprise mobility management and device use policy, as data security may be breached not due to the enterprise app itself, but due to malfunctions of the device, its improper use, or loss.
Mobile App Development: Concluding Remarks
The word “development” is strongly associated with coding, which is the main reason this concept is often misunderstood. In reality, mobile app development lifecycle is a multifaceted process that requires a great deal of coordination and management. This is why focusing on any one aspect of the cycle, like how to launch your app in an international market, may leave you with an inconsistent and fragmented product. It is only by taking a step back and getting the strategic perspective that you can deliver on your audience’s expectations and achieve long-term success.