Mobile app development myth busters: “good, fast and cheap”

Published on Sep 15, 2017 in App Development
Mobiel app development myth busters: “good, fast and cheap”

How does the famous project management triangle affect your project?

From the initial business idea until the actual end-product, there are so many ways to make your mobile app idea shine or... fail. How can this happen? Well, in most cases, it's actually up to the client. Who asks for a “good, fast and cheap” product?

Pursuing such unrealistic goals in the mobile app development process, all at the same time, is one of the main reasons for which countless mobile applications fail annually, often before being completed and launched. How to make sure you don't make wrong decisions at the key moments? Here is your guide to choosing smart when it comes to the controversial triad!

The triple constraint: true or false?

The triple constraint

A famous project management triangle states that, when it comes to good, fast, cheap services, you can only have two of them. But is it actually true? Let's see!

Briefly, this model states that budget, schedule and scope all utterly affect the quality of work. If changes are applied to one constraint, the others need to be adjusted accordingly in order to compensate, or quality will suffer. Consequently:

  • A project can be completed faster by increasing the budget and/or by reducing the features (scope) it is supposed to meet;
  • Expanding the scope determines a proportional budget boost and/or stretching the work schedule;
  • Cutting the budget without adjusting the schedule and/or scope will definitely lead to poor quality.

Project management experts even came up with the STR model (scope, time, resources) – a sort of mathematical, yet abstract formula, which presents the relationship of the elements in the project management triangle model like this:

Scope (complexity/quality) = Time × Resources

Still, this scheme does not cover all the dimensions of a project. As success is usually defined as “delivering the required scope, at a reasonable quality, within the established budget and schedule”, it overlooks other critical facets of success, such as user satisfaction, impact on stakeholders, etc.

Well, this is the theory. What about the practice?

As you might expect, “trading” between constraints is not always possible in practice. For example:

  • Putting more money (and people) in an already fully staffed project could actually slow it down, besides wasting the budget;
  • You can have all the necessary resources, but, if the project is poorly managed, you can still end up with a disaster;
  • On the contrary, the skills and experience of the professionals you are working with can make the most out of your budget, in due time and still keeping the high quality.

Did you know...?

  • In software development, 53% of projects are completed, but impaired (cost overruns and/or time overruns).
  • 31% of projects are canceled before being finished!
  • Only 16% of projects are completed on time, on budget and on scope.

Based on our experience developing dozens of different mobile applications, for clients from all-over-the-world who previously tried to develop mobile apps and failed, we concluded that in projects of mobile app development you can actually get just one thing right from the “good, fast, cheap” triad. Do you guess which?

1. Good + Cheap = Slow

Regardless of how great your idea is, if the mobile app development process takes too long, chances are you'll see similar apps or existing ones consolidating their position on the market before you get to launch yours. So, market opportunity lost!

From the initial research and resulting plan until the end product, namely your mobile app launched on the market, there are so many steps to take and each of them is equally important for the project's success: code programming, infrastructure, functionalities, platform (native vs. hybrid), UI design, project management, back-end, performance, user experience and eventually, testing and solving out potential bugs or issues... You name it!

Most likely, all these steps will be outsourced, so consider that the communication, as well as the development process, will take time. As highly optimistic as you might be, things cannot go fast, especially if you are on a budget and still want your mobile app to fulfill the quality conditions (as it should, of course). Not to mention that some tasks simply take as much time as they need to be completed, regardless of the budget – e.g. for a code to be properly written so as to create the result you expect, not even Superman can do it in 10 minutes, no matter how much you pay.

2. Fast + Cheap = Low quality

Let's say you swiftly develop and launch a mobile app, but with some bugs you consider solving out afterwards. Well, you'll probably won't get to that point, as if the mobile app does not look and work well from the very beginning, you have actually killed your own idea. Too bad!

If it's something truly critical to the project's success, it's the quality. So, whatever you do, don't underestimate its importance, don't ever cut back on the quality! Mobile app users are extremely demanding and don't settle for less than (almost) perfect. If you neither take the time, nor invest the needed money to properly develop your idea and launch it on the market in its best shape, how could you expect them to appreciate it?!

3. Good + Fast = Expensive

Basically, in either of the first two cases, your ROI (Return On Investment) could be zero, which means wasted money and time. That is why we strongly recommend you to go for a solution providing both quality and a fast development process – actually, the only combination which really maximizes your chances to get your mobile app done and reach your goals. In order to make this happen, you need to invest energy, time and (mostly) money in professional support. Yet, outsourcing the app project to a dedicated team, with a solid background in developing mobile apps, will provide you the quality you seek for, so the investment is worth it.

Of course, costs vary greatly according to the market, to providers' experience in the field and mainly to your app's specifications. You might also have to decide if you prefer to be charged on a fixed price (Waterfall approach) or on an hourly basis (Agile approach). If you do your research, carefully consider all the options and keep an open mind, you can still have both the quality and the speed with a not-so-expensive budget.

Hint: Eastern European countries are nowadays strong talent pools, with many competitive professionals, offering quality services at affordable fees.

Did you know...?

You can save up to 54% by outsourcing to an Eastern Europe developer instead of choosing either the low-fee, low-quality services in Asia or the high-quality, high-fee ones in the UK or US.

38% of enterprises want to outsource to Eastern Europe and especially to Romania, according to a Gartner Research Group.


Regardless of its aura of entertaining, mobile app development is not a game, you have to take it seriously if you aim to succeed. You might want to challenge an already popular app or simply let yourself inspired by some hits. Either way, rest assured it involves all the possible support to reach this point. The competition is already fierce in so many niches and, even if your idea is one of a kind, it still needs hard work, dedication, time, energy and money. Give your best shot, do everything you can and go all the way through.

Still, in order not to waste your capital and jeopardize the business project itself, make sure you properly do your research and weigh all it takes before investing in developing a mobile app. For instance, do you know the 7 deadly sins of mobile app development? You'd better check them out and find out how to nail the perfect quality-cost-time ratio.

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Devodrome is a mobile app development outsourcing studio located in Romania. As Eastern European developers, they deliver quality work for a competitive price thanks to their skilled team of app developers. Their clear development process, honed after years of experience, ensures quality product development and timely delivery.

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