So, here you are. Chances are that you must have an idea for a web or mobile application and want to see if it’s something feasible and within your budgets. There is no direct answer to this question. First we need to understand what goes in making an app. So, let’s go through it.
BASICS: Functional specifications or user stories
Any software development project starts with a detailed understanding of what the application does. To understand it we have two different methods.The first one involves creation of functional specification document. A functional specification document describes the exact behavior of an application, its components and their front/backend functionality. Most enterprise clients we work with prefer this method as it broadly follows a waterfall approach to development, meanwhile allowing us to lock down features and costs (fixed cost/fixed time). The downside? Well, since features/functionality of the project has been locked down, there is no room for changes in it. Any changes in requirements would affect project timelines and eventually the cost.On the other hand, User Story is the second approach we use for web application development. A user story is one or more sentences to describe what an application or the users are supposed to do. Say, ‘I want a web based application where group of friends can share pictures with each other’. This leads us to ultimate 5Ws : Who, Why, When, Where, What. And How, as well. Agile development methodology comes handy here. Since, when compared with functional specs, user stories are rather flexible and allow continuous improvements/modifications, Agile environment entertains it better where focus is on iterative and incremental development.
So, What’s better?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It depends on following things.You have fixed budget and time-frame with locked-in features?
Yes? Waterfall development model fits your project.
Do you have an idea with features that you might want to change many times throughout the development process?
Yes? Agile gives you opportunity to design, develop, redesign, redevelop your application until you are satisfied. Remember, it’s not going to be fixed price/fixed time model. Such projects involve different engagement models, commonly referred as Time/Material engagement or more popular one, Dedicated team/s.
Looking back at our experience with projects, we have seen that Functional specification (waterfall methodology) best fits enterprise applications development where the requirements are unlikely to change very often. This allows for comprehensive, well planned and well scoped document creation.Whereas, user stories (Agile methodology) best serve consumer applications development where users’ input/output make up the big chunk of application. These applications, usually need to be extremely flexible and fast. Since it’s not possible to offer fixed price/fixed time for such applications, development team is paid for set amount of time like per hour, week or a month. Clients can ask team to develop any feature or change it altogether later. we don’t force these methodologies. We realize that every project is different. Depending upon the nature and scope of the project, we decide which one to use. Sometimes, we use hybrid approach that combines both.
One More Thing, where to find damn good development team?
The best way to find a great fit? Research a few companies who are good at what they are doing, talk to them, see their work and if possible do their clients check. Don’t just go for a guy that offers you the lowest cost. At the end of the day, you would want a team that you can trust. When tried everybody, It’s our Business Director’s number.
Did we forget to mention average cost of application development?
By now, you have got a good idea that every project is different. Having said, on average our team has about 175 billable hours per week for our custom projects and average web/mobile application development project lasts about 3 months and costs in $25,000 to $65,000 range.
Soon, we are going to launch our case histories. You bet, you will not have seen anything like this before. Stay Engaged.