Are you looking for custom app development; maybe a mobile app, web app or a custom solution for your business? It could also be your next big app idea that you probably want to grow into a successful business. But getting the right vendors to develop the solution can be a challenge, especially when it comes to understanding the time and cost involved in developing such a solution.
If you do not have a clear and detailed specification list for your app idea or software requirement, then you could end up with inaccurate time and cost estimations that may eventually go beyond your budget. Would you really prefer taking such a risk?
Let’s take a look at some possible scenarios where people have come up with incomplete or vague requirements.
Case 1: Just An Idea
While it’s great to have an innovative idea, probably that will introduce a whole new category or redefine an existing one, just having an idea isn’t enough. More than often we get enquiries mentioning that the person has a concept which needs to be developed. However, on asking more details on the implementation of the concept, nothing much is ever presented. For example, a person may have an idea for a video app and wants something similar to an existing app. Copying the features of an existing solution is not difficult. However, one must then be ready to bear the budget for developing an established system or needs to be absolutely sure that the app idea will be able to compete with others once launched.
It is better to have a detailed explanation of the concept, the various features that needs to be in the app, use cases, revenue model, and product growth plan. This will not only provide a clear understanding of the implementation of the concept, but also allow the software developer to propose the best technologies in keeping with current and upcoming tech infrastructure.
Case 2: Replica of Existing Software
This is another common request or enquiry that most people come up with. While it may seem exciting to be able to get a clone of an app like WhatsApp, TikTok, Big Basket, or even LinkedIn, not everyone really takes the time to understand the investment that has gone into building the solutions as they are seen today. Massive investments (both time and money), and multiple iterations of the app have led to the current versions of the popular apps. Simply cloning an app with fewer budgets will never serve your purpose.
Another key issue with this approach is that the product will not be unique or have a key differentiator which will make it very difficult for it to compete with the giants who already have a strong presence and the lion’s share of the market. When you approach any software development company or app developer with a request to clone an app, you will either get a very cheap clone that already exists in the market or you will get a high quotation for custom development. In either case, you will not be able to get the best pricing.
Case 3: Using Emerging Technologies Without Much Clarity
Emerging technologies like Extended Reality, Blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence may seem quite appealing, especially considering the potential of integrating these in applications. However, it is important to focus on the end usage and the functionality rather than going ahead with technologies that may not really be required. Moreover, the lack of understanding of the implications of using a particular technology will more than often result in high costing for a project with functionalities that can be achieved using other common technologies.
You should only decide to go ahead with a novel technology when you have a good understanding of the implications of using it in an application, and when the functionality absolutely requires it. Only then would you get the benefit of implementing emerging technologies.
7-Step Checklist for Getting The Best Pricing For App Development
Now that we have explored the common scenarios involving inquiries for custom software development, let’s take a look at the 7-step checklist which will help you get the best pricing and accurate timelines for your app requirements.
Step #1: Pen Down The Concept
Simply having a concept in mind is not enough when you wish to make it a reality. Always pen down the concept on paper to have a proper understanding of what you really need. It could be a list of features or some functionality. It could also be a basic screen design or navigation flow that provides a brief overview of your concept. Remember, this is the most important stage as it will form the foundation of the scope or specification document which will be required for getting time and cost estimations.
Step 2: Define The Users
Most people are able to define their users because it is a key element of their business plan. However, they often miss out on the best platforms that they would be available on. For example, 80% of all interactions today occur on a mobile device. In such cases, a web application may not really be required unless it a multi-platform application where the need for the solution to be available on different devices is key for ensuring business success. At this stage, only try to finalize the platforms you need, instead of going into the details the development approach for these platforms. This would be suggested by the developer based on the feasibility of the solution.
Step 3: Define The Timelines
The actual timelines for the development of your app will be provided by the software developer. However, you need to define the broad timelines according to your business plan. You may have planned a launch date for the app in accordance to a pre-planned business engagement or maybe a presentation to potential investors. In such cases, you need to include a buffer to your timeline to accommodate for any technical issues that may arise or technology changes which may require certain aspects to be modified in order to maintain compliance. Based on your timeline, the developer can either work within the specified time (if applicable) or might add more resources to the team in order to meet your deadlines. However, this will not have any impact on the cost because commercials are provided purely on the basis of the efforts required for the development of the required solution.
Step 4: Consult With A Business Analyst
While most software development service providers share a proper requirement understanding in their proposal, it is best to get it done beforehand through a business analyst. This particular step has a lot of advantages. Firstly, you will get to understand the technical feasibility of the solution that you need. Secondly, the business analyst can help in understanding the technologies required for developing the solution in keeping with current as well as future technology trends. The business analyst will help to create a specification document with detailed description, feature list, use-cases, logical flow of the app, and possible dependencies. You can easily connect with business analysis consultants who can guide you to create a proper documentation for your concept.
Step 5: Prepare A Development Budget
In our experience, we have seen that getting the right and realistic budget for any requirement is one of the biggest challenges faced by customers. It is evident that customers will always want more for less. However, one needs to have a budget in place in order to have some negotiating power. Your business analyst can give you an estimate for the development cost which should be considered as a base value. Now add to that the cost of any third party integrations such as SDK for video modules, hosting server costs, and other applicable costs which are usually not included in any quotation provided by a software development service provider. This is also a good time to define the source of funding as it would be crucial for planning ahead. With a tentative budget in place, you can plan an alternative course of action if the actual commercials go beyond your expected numbers.
Step 6: Create Alternative Plan For The Product
Now that you have a proper documentation and budget for your software product, it is suggested to keep an alternate plan for the development. This alternate plan will come in handy when the proposed timelines and commercials do not meet your expectations. The best approach to this would be to have two set of product roadmap – entire solution development, and MVP development with further phases.
In the first option, you will have to include the entire features and requirement of the application which might end up becoming a huge and complex project. It might go beyond the defined timeline and budget. In such cases, the second option of creating an MVP turns out to be really beneficial. In this approach, you have to identify the bare minimum and absolutely essential features of the app. This would not only help you to get a working prototype (proof of concept) but it will also cost less with a shorter timeline. The remaining features can be prioritized and planned in phases to match the business growth and consumer response. A phase-wise distribution provides a lot of scope to refine the app based on real world interactions and feedback. However, the approach completely depends on your requirement and preference.
Step 7: Decide Whether To Hire Freelancers Or Software Development Agencies
This is THE most important step in the entire checklist as it has a direct impact on the outcome of the project and the way it is developed. Freelancers come at a cheaper cost but there is a significant risk of the development being stuck mid-way or the codes not being transferred to the customer. Moreover, freelancers usually do not provide support and maintenance of an app and require a technical person to manage the project (from the customer’s end) to ensure everything is on track.
The benefit of hiring a software development agency is reliability of development, dedicated team of developers and project managers, and end-to-end execution of the project including support and maintenance post-deployment. You will also get the required documentation and the code once the project is completed. However, this comes at a higher cost than freelancers. If you consider both options, it is better to hire a software development agency to take the ownership of the entire project.
You Are Now Ready To Bring Your App Idea To Life
By simply following the 7-step checklist presented above, you can avoid timeline and budget extensions and get the best quotation for your required solution. From a business perspective, it will allow you to manage your funds better and also plan the product launch as per the business plan.
So what are you waiting for, get your concept ready and take the next step to bring your app idea to life.
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Advantal Technologies has over a decade of experience in Software Product Development. We are providing product development services to startups, SME’s, Government and Multinational Corporations like Nokia, Ford, Samsung, Hitachi and others. We have a dedicated team of 120+ engineers working on multiple technologies.
We are certified by ISO on quality standards and are a global software development partner for Nokia and Silver Alliance Partner for Samsung.
If you are looking for custom app development, get in touch with our experts today for a free consultation. Let’s make your app idea a reality, cost effectively.