On the to-do list before figuring out the plan to launch the v1.0 of your app is to estimate the time it will take to build the v1.0. It varies greatly so there is no sure shot one-word answer. But there is a privileged theory which on the basis of the general experience of mobile app development companies suggests that on an average it takes 4-6 months to build an app from the crux.
Now, this is not a verdict because the first version of an app can be built faster than 4 months or it may take longer than 6 months. This variation in the time to develop an app is because of several factors that influence it, these points are discussed in the rest of this post.
INDUSTRY VIEWPOINT FOR APP DEVELOPMENT TIMELINES
There are numerous apps in the app stores that are part of your life and have made your life better. These lifestyle evolving apps are fast, mostly bug-free, intuitive and with beautiful aesthetics. To develop an app like this calls for minimum hundreds of thousands of hours into them at the primitive stage in their existence.
For instance, Facebook has thousands of people working on their app, either on the actual app or on the servers and APIs that support them. It took years for Facebook to become what it is today.
With that in the backdrop, to develop apps that have a long-lasting and evergreen impact like Facebook, Uber, Snapchat, Google Maps, and Tinder, is a time-consuming task. So here the general estimate of 4-6 months will not hold as even the first version of the app has to be an epitome of quality.
APP SCOPE: PLATFORM, SCREEN SIZES AND FEATURES
In the scope of an app, its features, the screen sizes that need to be supported and the platforms targeted are defined. Once these items are identified, it is easier to put in efforts.
Now, the screen sizes and platform support basically involves the work around UX and UI. UX and UI design go hand in hand but are widely different. It can be figured out easily.
The bigger challenge lies in deciding a feature list. It is a fact that focused apps perform better than vague apps with dispersed features. A long list of features increases the timeline and costs as well.
The purpose of preparing a feature list is to strike out unnecessary features upfront and checkmark only the key features that will help you find the uncontested market for your app. This organized approach helps you stick to the 4-6 month timeline.
BUDGET FOR BUILDING AN APP
The budget is an indispensable factor that determines the timeline of an app. As the time passes cost adds up, even if you build an app in-house there is an opportunity cost of not trying other options.
Assess timeline of an app based on how long your budget can fund your app. In the world of startups, that's called a "runway." Once you figure out your runway, you can further refine your scope by defining your feature list based on your budget.
For instance, if your budget is sufficient only to support mobile app development for 3 months, one needs to be much more aggressive in decreasing the feature list.
APP SKILLS AND EXPERTISE
If you are developing an app in-house, now is the worst time to learn a skill. Focus on the areas that you are good at and outsource the rest. Handling parts of an app outside your skill set will increase the app timeline which is why a mobile app development company that involves experts on each skill is required to build an app can do it better and faster.
In fact, speed is a major factor that determines when a fully equipped app will be launched and in how much time.
MENTALITY FOR A V1.0 APP
It is a prevalent concept in the market like "go big or go home" mentality that easily drives v1.0 app schedules past the 6-month mark. The catch here is, one needs to spend enough time to build a quality app and not to spend more or less of it.
The more time you spend on an app, it is less likely that it will be validated in the market.
Working on a v1.0 for anytime more than 6 months is a big no-no because it can result in missing a marketing window with a similar app gaining significant momentum. And building an app that is no longer desired in the marketplace is a waste of time and money.
APP DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
A good process helps in building an app into the schedule. A process involves upfront planning, estimation of effort, beta testing, QA, design audits, polish, and all the small touches that separate a good app from an average app.
Not following the app development process will dramatically impact the app timeline.
Here is an infographic to give you a better understanding of the time required to complete each and every process of the mobile app development phases: from app planning to app launch.
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