App development is high-risk and high-reward. The rewards are great, but the risks need to be managed.
- Search for Apps Like Your Idea
There are roughly 1.3 million apps on iOS alone, and a lot more for Android and Windows Phones. With so many apps on the market, it is possible that someone has already had your idea.
Search for apps like yours online. Even if you find similar products, you still may be able to find underserved parts of the market and will be able to tailor your app to fill an available niche.
- Storyboard the Design
Working everything out on paper will save a lot of problems later on. Develop a good concept for how every layout and menu should look, as well as future plug-ins and functions. This will form an easy reference point for all current and future team members, preventing misunderstandings.
- Determine Minimum Viable Product
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is an important concept in app design. It is the product with the highest possible return for the minimum possible risk. The MVP is the point where your app has enough features and polish to appeal to the majority of your audience, but not so many that it will take your team a ridiculous amount of time and risk bankruptcy.
For something that sounds good, MVP is actually a controversial idea in app design. In some types of apps, especially games, building a good brand image is often more important than app-to-app risk management.
Even if you want to go above and beyond, it’s a really good idea to know when a product is adequate, and to build it up to adequacy before adding additional features. That way, if you start running out of time or money, you will already have an acceptable version ready for release.
- Plan the Schedule
Sorting out a realistic schedule will help you for several reasons.
First, it helps you prioritize tasks and functions so that you will hit MVP as fast as possible. Second, it gives you a framework for understanding how much each feature will cost you. Third, a schedule is useful for postmortems, as you will need to find out which tasks took longer than expected. Pay attention to how long each task takes, so that your estimates constantly become more accurate.