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App Development
7 minutes read

App Development Process Steps

by Jose Gomez

Developing an app can be quite a daunting task. As an app development company, one thing we say to people all the time is to look for a strategic partner. Few things can impede the success of an app as a company that is not the right fit for your project. The process of developing an app isn’t only about the technical knowledge of development and design. Other elements like the right culture, defining the business model, knowing how to properly ship your product, and choosing the right marketing strategy also count. The ideal app development partner is that which looks at clients’ business holistically. 

There are various ways to approach the steps that make up the app development process. Sometimes it is useful to go for a general and conceptual approach. On other occasions, an operational focus is more convenient. In this post we discuss the actual operational steps involved in the hands-on app development process without going too deep into technicalities. 

App Development Process Steps

Laying out the app development process steps can be problematic because they don’t just follow a linear path. Sometimes it is necessary to go back and forth multiple times between steps until you get it right. It may even occur that the process will require you to go back further in order to analyze basic assumptions and restructure them. Having to do so is normal. 

Developing a world-class app focuses on two great pillars, Agile Development and Design Thinking:  

  • Design Thinking is an ideation and testing process where the team is aware that it does not have all the answers. It requires multiple iterations through the development steps until you have something that works. This last is known as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
  • Agile Development is an iterative project management methodology that allows teams to work in a faster, more efficient way, optimizing resources as you go along. Through it, the app development process becomes an essential part of guaranteeing your product’s success. 

The general overall process of building your app encompasses more than just the development phase. It would ideally consider the following steps: discover, design, develop, and deploy. However, this is a much larger process and we will not be discussing it in detail.

Strictly speaking, the app development process considers the following steps: understand the requirement, design an initial solution, implement and test the solution, refactor to optimize, and deliver a solution.

A graph of the steps of the app development process

1. Understand the Requirements

What is it that your app plans to do? How will it do it? Who will use it and how? These are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself before starting to develop your app. They may seem like basic issues, but if you are able to get them right, you will avoid costly rework further ahead in the process. Additionally, they may help you see the big picture of how your app fits within your business model and strategy. It often happens that our expectations hit a wall when the moment to develop comes, so it is best to be realistic about the scope.  

It is also important to make these matters clear for communication purposes. If your development partner is not in tune with your project, it will most likely flunk. Make sure that everyone understands the basics and you will be on the right track. Fail to do it and you will eventually derail. 

Clear and concise requirements help revise your pricing assumptions.

2. Design an Initial Solution (Hypothesis)

The best way to get it right is to go ahead and start building your app. Only by doing so will your product be able to evolve. Otherwise, you’re just going around in circles around ideas, and that leads to nowhere in terms of execution.  

An initial solution is based on your initial hypothesis. It sums up your assumptions and allows you to test them. In turn, this helps you refine your product as you iterate from what does not work to what does. Design plays a major role in this and the following step as it will help you validate or discard your user assumptions. 

3. Implement and Test the Solution

Once you’ve got something you can test, it is time to move to the next step. Testing does not require you to have a completed version of your app. In other words, it is not necessary to have all the features included. A good thing about Agile Development is that it allows you to test features separately

Field testing with users produces valuable feedback. This is an important input that will help you make important decisions. If something does not work, you need to pivot towards another direction. This applies to both development and design. 

4. Refactor to Optimize

Refactoring code means optimizing or making it more efficient and simple. This needs to be done in an organized manner and with the right documentation. This will save you from many headaches in the future. Some refactoring changes might seem simple at a glance, but when integrated into your app they can make a considerable difference. 

You can also think of optimizing in terms of design. This is done by making sure your app delivers the best UX. To do so, it is recommended that you perform A/B tests. 

Optimizing is something that never ends even when your app is deployed. There is always something that can be done better, especially as new features and updates arise.  

5. Deliver the Solution

We’d love to tell you that this is the last step, but it is probably just the end of the first of many cycles. This is a good thing, you want to make sure that your product is good enough before it hits the market. Not doing so might generate a negative reaction on behalf of users.

Sometimes the solution needs some tweaks before being deployed. It may even occur that, even after reaching the market, there are still things to be done. This is alright if you have delivered a robust MVP. The important thing is that the development team makes sure of delivering continuous improvements. 

A solution is not the same as a finished product. As a matter of fact, as we mentioned in the previous point, a product is never really finished. The beauty of Agile and Design Thinking applied to app development is that it allows you to constantly improve. This is the only way to deliver the best possible product to your users. 

The Right Partner

As I mentioned initially, the app development process is more than just having the right technical expertise. It requires looking back at the decisions made and making sure they are the right ones. At Koombea we prefer to think of developing apps as crafting a work of art. It takes a special insight to make the right choices. Our custom Agile Methodology and years of Design Thinking experience have taught us the value of iterations.

Understanding the app development steps helps depict a clear idea of how the process goes, but each project is unique. Thus, having the right partner is essential. If you want a partner who is willing to take on your project as if it were its own, contact us. Our more than 12 years of experience crafting world-class apps speaks of our commitment to deliver great products.