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App Development
7 minutes read

Understanding the Stages of App Development: All You Need to Know

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
7 minutes read

There is one thing that any mobile development team should take into consideration: the stages of app development. By having a clear roadmap, developers can easily build an app in an organized, productive, and efficient way. 

Each project is, at the end of the day, unique. Nonetheless, the app development stages are usually always the same. In this post we address these mobile app development stages. By understanding them, you will be able to improve your app development processes. 

What Goes into Making an App?

To many people, building an app is sort of a magical process where someone inserts some code into a computer, and magically an app comes out. This isn’t exactly false, yet it isn’t very precise either. For a start, an app requires the use of specialized tools. Apps built for iOS differ from those built for Android, yet, in general, their processes are the same. 

Most apps are usually built by a team of developers rather than by an individual. That’s why the process of building an app is often referred to as a team endeavor. This, if done properly, can accelerate the process while gaining efficiencies and increasing productivity.

Making an app requires different capabilities and specialized knowledge. An app is only as good as the team that built it, so it is pretty important to get it right. Any business with an app needs to make sure that its app development team is fully capable of achieving the desired product. Otherwise, results may end up being disappointing.

To prevent your app from sinking, developers need to adhere to existing app development methodologies. There are different ways in which an app can be developed. From our experience as an app development company, we know that how you decide to approach the app development process will have an impact on the final product. 

What Is App Development?

To guarantee an app’s success, computer scientists have established a set of guidelines. Through the implementation of project management principles as well as software development best practices, development teams can address specific requirements in a timely and budget-friendly manner. 

The techniques and methods used today are the product of countless years of improvement on behalf of software engineers. This rigorous and systematic process of building an app is known as App Development, and it includes all the different stages of the app development lifecycle. 

This encompasses the necessary stages to build a quality app focused on users, and it operates on collaboration. SCRUM and Agile are some of the most common frameworks used to develop software projects.

How a Mobile App Works

Have you ever wondered how a mobile app works? In short, an app is a series of pieces of code that interact with one another to deliver a smooth and easy to use experience. Piled up in different layers and programs based on the architecture of an app, an app is especially thought out to be used in intuitive and easy ways. 

Although apps are getting smarter, they are always designed to follow rules. In other words, developers, through code, tell computers what to do. Because a computer cannot differentiate between correct and incorrect code, it is up to development teams to make sure that everything in an app works as intended. Failing to do so results in what is often referred to as ‘bugs.’

An app’s information, which includes code and other forms of data, is usually stored in a server available to users. By doing so, an app can communicate with users all over the world. Although most apps run the majority of their processes directly on a device (native apps), others run mostly on the cloud; this last is known as cloud app development

By using tools like the cloud, software development kits (SDKs), and APIs, a development team can easily build any type of app. Having the right tools is very important to guarantee that the app development process runs smoothly. Each different stage of app development uses different tools, although some are crucial to the entire process. 

How Mobile Apps Are Developed

It is very important that individual members of app development teams communicate with one another. When it comes to code, it is very easy to make mistakes. One developer’s code is different from the other. To prevent mistakes throughout the different stages of app development, some software best practices exist. These are normally applied to mobile application development stages, but they can also be used to build a variety of software programs like a website, a web app, and other digital products. 

A popular framework for developing apps is the Personal Software Process (PSP). This series of methods shows software developers how to manage their work, from planning to even measuring it. It is a versatile framework that can be used to build many different types of software, for individuals or teams alike. In practice, it can be used to understand the mobile app process flow.  

App Development Stages

Although there are numerous ways to classify the different stages of app development, some are better than others in terms of general software projects. These are the stages according to the PSP framework. 

The High-Level Stages of App Development

At a high level, the stages of app development can be classified into:

  • Planning: Establish the requirements of the app’s programs and estimate the required development time. 
  • Development: Design the program and implement it. Test it and address defects after compiling. 
  • Postmortem: Register actual completion time, defects, and size data to learn what can be done better and thus improve. 

The Detailed Stages of App Development

Before any project begins, these stages should be considered:

  • Discovery: in this preliminary stage, goals, and strategies are defined so that there is a high-level understanding of the project. Project aspects like scope, costs, and calendar are discussed. 
  • Ideation: in this second preliminary stage, the project’s functional and non-functional requirements are laid out. Requirements are documented and approached with a User-Centered Approach and Design Thinking techniques.

At a detailed level, these are the different stages of app development. 

  • Planning: Establish specific requirements through tools like an entity-relationship diagram or a sequence diagram, and define how it will be tested (waterfall, continuous updates, grooming meetings) and documented. 
  • Design: Determine how the problem will be solved based on the established requirements.
  • Design Review: Evaluate the proposed design to determine if it will meet the project’s requirements.
  • Code: Build the code that will solve the specific requirement.
  • Code Review: Review the code to make sure it solves the specific requirement and refactor (optimize) where possible. 
  • Compile: Compile and run the code while fixing and logging all defects encountered.
  • Test: Look out for specific defects while fixing and documenting them.
  • Postmortem: Register the Project Plan Summary and look for opportunities to improve the overall process. 

Final Thoughts

The stages of app development lay out a clear road map that anyone wishing to develop an app should follow. Project managers and developers alike should be familiar with them. Although they are not a one size fits all model, they do fit into the majority of software projects, especially when it comes to mobile apps. Their main strength lies in their power to help teams measure their performance and implement improvements. 

At Koombea, we are methodical and rigorous when it comes to implementing and optimizing processes. This allows us to give our clients an optimized app development experience, helping them achieve their goals in a timely manner and within their budget. 

Contact us for a free consultation and start developing your app.

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