An effective app development proposal is a critical element of your business strategy. At the end of the day, this is what will help you decide on the right development partner for your app. That’s why we’ve put together actionable recommendations that will help your mobile app proposal be useful and reflect your project business goals.
How to Spot a Great App Development Proposal
So, you’ve got a great mobile app idea. You’ve done some research on the project, identified a definite market opportunity, and are actively shopping around for a mobile app development partner. Obviously, you’ve checked reviews, skimmed case studies, and taken a hard look at the work each company has produced for their past clients (and if you haven’t done all of these things, you should!). If a software company has passed all those tests, you’re likely talking to the sales department about the next steps.
One of these steps is the proposal that they’ll put together for your app development and present to you. This is likely going to be the most important deciding factor in your selection process; it represents the levels of knowledge, professionalism, and innovation that they’ll deliver.
How should you know what delineates a great proposal from a bad one? We’ve got a few ideas, as we here at Koombea have written thousands of them. Let’s take a look at a few categories you’ll need to see, and what you should look for in an app development proposal.
A great mobile app development proposal starts with you as a client, or rather with what your business requirements entail. And the only way you’ll be able to clearly communicate that with any sales team or app development agency is if they ask you all the right questions.
Much of the development proposal creation process can be done in writing, true, but an in-person meeting is also a good idea to really get your app ideas across. Feel free to interject or add on if you have something on your mind, and you’ll also want to review how your answers were construed (before the proposal is written) and applied to the final product.
Did the company really capture the key ideas and features that make up the essence of your mobile app solution? If not, could you have answered better or with more detailed information? Keep in mind that this may be a bit of a learning adventure for you, and you’ll probably get many proposals in the near future, so be open to learning from your mistakes.
App Proposal Design
Any time you get a first look at anything, you’re going to immediately absorb and assess the design. High-quality images, immediately pleasing color palettes, and everything else from font to format; you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, so it’s crucial to closely examine how this proposal looks and feels.
If the App Development Proposal Template looks rushed, drab, or obviously straight from a template, you may want to consider this agency treating your mobile application in a similar fashion. Likewise, slick design and thoughtful presentation signify the attention to detail and aesthetics, which will be very important to your finished product.
Yes, a development proposal is primarily designed to give you the basic facts of what it will take to get your app up and running. But, if it doesn’t look as professional and pleasing as you’d expect to see on your app, take notice.
The Scope of the Mobile App Development Process
Scope refers to the general parameters of the entire project. The app development proposal should outline all of the intended features, compatibility with various platforms, and all other functional elements they’ll encounter throughout the development and operation phases.
Now, understand that this part of a proposal is a tremendously labor-intensive and comprehensive step; yes, it should be detailed and professional, but realize that it’s quite possible that yours is one of many that the sales department writes up, with an uncertain rate of success.
The scope should be in-depth and precise. You should also look for the company to assure that any hazy or unclear parts will be discussed, clarified, and resolved during pre-development meetings. This gives a solid footing to feel confident that the agency has all their best interests in mind. Taking this concept even further, it’s wise for the agency to follow up with a brief note from a dedicated project manager who can assure you that individual attention will be there.
The Timeline of Mobile App Development
A proper app development proposal should include a fairly comprehensive timeline, and this also is a rather tricky thing to predict and execute. Projects can encounter all sorts of obstacles and delays, and, while you’ll want to see those acknowledged in the app development proposal, you’ll also need to see that a tight timeline is both attainable and a priority for the software company.
Look for how the project is broken down into user stories, which should allow for more precise time estimates for each section or phase. You should be able to get a read on the level of experience and professionalism here also; a “been there, done that” attitude can be reassuring when it’s backed up with confidence and facts, or dismissive and inexperienced if it’s not. And if you see a vague guess (i.e. “Somewhere between 6 to 12 months”), you should ask the resources company for clarification, or proceed with caution.
Another aspect to take note of is the way any certain agency is organized and constructed. Timelines can often be stretched and extended due to interdepartmental handoffs and miscommunications. A good thing to look for in an app development proposal’s timeline is the presence of an integrated DevOps team.
When the development and operations teams work together to develop, test, and launch any given app using the typical DevOps iterative process, you should expect efficient and streamlined work with very few bugs or glitches. However, even the best DevOps teams find bugs along the way, so make sure to perform the proper QA tests. Remember, any future upgrade or downtime will be costly on many fronts, so exhaustive testing during development will almost certainly save you time down the road.
Despite the slick design and persuasive content, it’s likely that the first thing you’ll do when you receive your app development proposal is go straight to the final cost. Bottom lines are important, as we all know, so you want to know right away where this app development proposal’s grand total lands. However, do not forget that beyond the total, any app development proposal should have an organized and efficient pricing formula that showcases the agency’s comprehensive project management, and makes it transparent for you.
Look for separate pricing information that’s split up according to company services (i.e., user interface design, testing, post-launch) or by personnel that have specific roles (i.e. graphic designer, iOS specialist, project manager). This will allow you to examine the work process, and it should also be somewhat synced up to the app development proposal timeline. Some agencies might provide an a la carte menu of software services, but make sure you truly understand the app development process if you choose to go that route.
Having detailed information on the user stories and epics always comes in handy. That way you can will have clarity on the most important cost drivers for your project:
- Technologies being used
- Features to be implemented
- The industries/audience to be served
You’ll also look for support costs throughout, and not just from post-launch operations. These are definitely software services you’ll need to get, like Quality Assurance, DevOps, and general help with maintenance and upkeep. Make sure these prices are commensurate with other similar services offered elsewhere, as they can add up quickly.
Lastly, keep in mind that if the price is too cheap, it is probably too good to be true. Make sure to set realistic expectations, not only in terms of budget, but also in relation to your project’s timeline, the features you will be adding, and its general scope. Although each project is unique, keep in mind the things mentioned above. That way you will be able to make the best of your app development proposal.
All of these categories should somehow appear in any good app development proposal. If they don’t, ask your sales representative (or ask yourself!) why not. Remember, you’ll be working very closely with the app development team you end up hiring for quite a while, so use your best judgment and choose wisely!