How to reduce app development cost
In today's competitive business environment, mobile app development could be a rather advantageous addition to your business. In fact, a mobile app can be a successful business by itself. However, when thinking about launching a mobile app, it's important to understand how to reduce software development costs.
In this blogpost, we will consider models that can help to reduce costs of software development.
On your marks!
You've decided to enter mobile app dev business and you are full of ideas. Today we are going to talk about how to reduce development costs without losing the quality of the final product. Let's get started.
To understand how to reduce app development costs and how to allocate those costs wisely, you need to have a clear notion of all project participants. Consider typical mutual relations for the new product development:
Client side: Project Manager and/or an owner of the startup (the one who came up with the idea).
Contractor side: Project Manager(s), UX / UI designers, mobile developers, server developers, QA team.
These people are responsible for a software development life cycle and at the initial stage are going to create the app, which exists only as an abstract idea. Your role will be to find own ways to reduce software development costs. Ask yourself what you can do on your end to hasten the whole process.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
If you want to reduce software development cost, act wisely from the very beginning. Before you hire a team of developers, think of results you want to get and define the main idea behind your future product. The clearer you define that idea, the easier it will be to cooperate with a developers team. So you'll reach the desired result faster and cheaper. And this is exactly what you want, right?
Of course, it's hard to come up with an idea of a completely unique application that has no analogues and still would be interesting and useful to a wide range of users. If you succeed, you can consider yourself lucky! If not, don't worry. Make sure that your app will be in high demand. In other words, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. You can just improve it and offer your user a better and updated version. How can you achieve this? Follow these simple guidelines.
- Define your target audience. What kind of users do you want to attract? Think of your potential users with their habits, routines, and needs.
- Explore the market. Without a doubt, the ideal option would be to hire a team of professional researchers. However, it requires extra costs. Do you want to know how to reduce research costs in this case? It's very simple - perform your own research. It's easier than it seems at first sight. All you need is time, perseverance, and diligence.
- Assemble a team and brainstorm ideas. Write down all of them, even weird ones. Practice shows that it is a great way to search for a right answer.
- Narrow down your ideas. Now your ideas need "to be polished". Analyze everything you have come up with during the brainstorm session and discard ideas that would be hard to implement. Leave only the “tastiest” and the most prospective ones and test them.
- Be ready that your ideas can be discussed and corrected many times. It's the only way to achieve desired results.
Now that you have the idea of the app, it's time to learn how to save money on its implementation.
Useful tips on how to reduce development cost
Unfortunately, there is no universal way on how to reduce app development costs. But don’t worry: it can be easier if you follow our little tips! Learn them and create your personal "cost-cutting scheme".
- Develop detailed project requirements. Developers love detailed project specifications. This is understandable: a detailed technical brief makes the development process much easier. Otherwise, developers will spend a lot of time asking for clarifications.Well-structured project specifications save time and budget. Before you start developing a mobile app, describe all your functional requirements as fully as possible. A lack of such requirements can lead to a product that doesn't meet client expectations as well as additional working hours and missing deadlines.
- Minimize the app functionality. In most cases, an app has functions that do not coincide with its main objectives and can only distract the team from what's important. To save time and money, remove all unnecessary functions and focus on the main features. Simply put, if you want to reduce software development costs, start with the prototype model. The Software Prototyping is a very popular model in software development as it helps to understand customer requirements at an early stage. This model is especially effective because it brings communication between developers, designers, users, and clients. Moreover, this communication occurs during the early stage that can be useful for the future of your project. Advantages of the prototype model include:
- well-coordinated communication with fewer errors and less rework
- better mutual engagement
- involving the end user in the process
- an effective cycle of ideas and better interaction
- Choose a developers team wisely. We advise contacting the company that will be responsible for all processes, including development, design, UX, QA, business analysis etc. You will be responsible only for the final and key decisions. Remember, in a case of choosing a team of developers, weigh all pros and cons and choose a team with a vast expertise and a noticeable experience. Qualified professionals work faster and more effective. With a team of true experts, you can achieve wise cost allocation and be sure that the final version of your product will be of high-quality.
- Remember about defects and rework. As IEEE notes in its report "Why Software Fails", developers spend at least 50% of their working time to avoid project rework. Fixing errors at the stage of development could be significantly higher (up to 100x and even more) than before it. Just compare: the developer needs about five hours to fix a bug at the coding stage, whereas this number can increase up to fifteen hours in the production phase ("The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Infrastructure for Software Testing, 2002"). Fixing new bugs as they occur is less painful and cheaper than trying to fix bugs in the final version of the app.
- Do not skimp on the QA team. You may think that you don't need a QA team and can handle testing on your own. However, this is a misconception. The testing process is much more complicated than it might seem. An experienced QA team can carry out all necessary testing and ensure bug-free product, thus avoiding additional expenses.
- Interact with the development team. Do not forget that the development of any product involves the interaction of both parties: a developer and a client. The more often this interaction occurs, the better the team understands client's vision of the project. And a better understanding of the project increases chances that all app features will be implemented as intended.
- User acceptance testing (UAT) in early stages. This kind of testing plays an important role in developing effective and affordable software project. Imagine if you complete software development life cycle and then see that users do not accept your product. As a result, it can be very expensive to fix this problem. Don't wait until the end of the testing and functional testing, start UAT during the prototyping stage. It's especially important when dealing with functional or simulated prototypes. Of course, when your app is ready to launch, you should repeat UAT again. There are a lot of UAT schemes and each of them has its benefits. Which one is better to choose? The best way is to ask for professional assistance.
- Laconic design. Intricate design requires a lot of time spent on its implementation. Therefore, try to avoid too expressive design style. Fortunately, iOS and Android offer their own design guidelines, which greatly simplifies the designer's work and save budget. If you're wondering how to reduce software development costs, this option is what you were looking for! But it does not concern the cases when the application needs complex user interface with custom elements, designed specifically for it.
- Use automated tools when testing your app. The danger of the human factor leads to the need of bringing down all manual processes to the minimum point. Using automated tools can significantly reduce the time and monetary costs allowing you to avoid human mistakes. In order to be sure about the product's quality, an experienced software development team use automated systems to complete their tasks.
- One project — one team. Find the company with full software development lifecycle (application logic, development, design, etc.). When several teams work on the same project, communication and project coordination can be a real problem. Delays caused by the complicated communication turn into very noticeable extra costs. So find the single team if you really want to know how to reduce software development time.
- Take your time with the project deadlines. You should not hurry the developers' team to complete the project as quickly as possible. This will inevitably lead to excessive rush, carelessness, and most likely errors. And the more errors, the more time developers need to fix them. If you want to find ways to reduce software development costs be loyal to your developers.
The main risks
There are a number of different pitfalls in mobile application development that may impact the overall workflow. Let's see what risks are most dangerous and how to reduce software development costs by avoiding them.
Examples of such risks:
- Investment in an unnecessary product. It's rather annoying to spend a lot of time, money, and effort and launch an application that nobody needs! How to avoid it? We can give a few tips:
- describe all features of the future product and assess its value/complexity/market orientation;
- select the most meaningful features of the product;
- think through the user experience within the system;
- enter the market with MVP (minimum viable product);
- develop the next system modules only after post-launch results.
- Delays in project implementation. Over 40% of IT projects face the risk of deferred deadlines. The reasons may be different and not always due to the contractor’s fault. In general, we can list the following examples:
- a client's excessive criticality. Perfectionism sometimes becomes a real problem. It happens when a client is waiting for the most perfect (and often impossible) result in order to launch an already good product.
- too much creativity. A lot of ideas is necessary at the initial stage of app development. However, when the project is already approved it is necessary to adhere to the functional requirements document (if you want to reduce software development cost). Otherwise, you should accept the fact that the deadline may be delayed and expenses risen.
- wrong choice of developers team. As we've already mentioned, you should not save on developers! Companies that have recently started are usually lack of experience and are not usually able to predict how much time a particular project will take.
- a different understanding of the project goals and objectives. Before proceeding to the stage of mobile application development, make sure that both parties properly understand each other. Moreover, all client's requirements must be well-documented in order to avoid possible problems in the future. It will be also helpful for developers team to borne in mind project restrictions.
- The exceeded development budget. The development budget can be exceeded for the same reasons as a postponed deadline. For example:
- poor project specification: when during the application development process client understands that not all requirements were taken into account;
- change of requirements to the final product: when a client suddenly comes up with new ideas and requirements for the future application.
To avoid this problem, you need to carefully discuss project details at the very first stage.
- The change in the product concept. We've already discussed this problem indirectly: it is the change in the product concept that affects the project deadlines and exceeds the development budget.
- The change of the developers' team. The wrong choice of the developers' team leads to the necessity of choosing the new one. This means extra costs as well.
- The problem of product acceptance by the customer. This is the most painful and stressful stage of the project: developers focus on finishing the project and the client wants to be sure that the product meets all the expectations. If communication was initially built properly, conflicts won't appear, and the project will be completed on time.
In order to minimize the risk, you should carefully formulate project specifications at the first stage and actively interact with developers during the whole process. The constant contact is one of the answers to the question of how to reduce app development costs.
Summing up, to reduce software development costs you need to:
- discuss all the details at the beginning of the project
- constantly interact with the development team
- conduct preliminary research and find out what will be in demand in the market
- constantly test the application (it is cheaper to prevent the problem than to solve it in the final version of the product)
- discuss the project process all the time
- be laconic everywhere: both in design and in functionality. Choose the required minimum and support the application when it starts to make money for you.
- save costs reasonable
- choose professionals!
It becomes obvious that the most important thing is to find the right team: a company that has a sufficient experience and ability to create a quality product even within the limited client's budget. Agilie is perfect for this role. We know how to reduce research and development costs and want to share this knowledge with you!
- Our experts will carry out all stages of the project. You will receive a finished product that meets your requirements and expectations.
- We are experienced specialists with a lot of successfully completed projects in our portfolio. Working qualitatively and effectively, we know how to manage scope, time and cost.
- Our company employs experts of different profiles - specialists who have already become a cohesive team of like-minded people. Our experts work consistently, confidently, and therefore as efficiently as possible.
- If necessary, we will consult you on all the questions and suggest the best ways to reduce software development costs.