I created this graphic as I was asked by multiple people how to develop an app. This does not include tips on coding but many people with the non-technical prerequisites to building an app.
I hope this graphic helps someone (It’s my first infographic/decision flow image, feedback welcome).
So You Have an Idea For An App: Graphic
Click for a larger version.
Standalone Image URL’s
v1.3 (22nd November 2017) https://fearby.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Infographic-So-you-have-an-idea-for-an-app-v1-3.jpg v1.2 (4th Nov 2017, Added requirements and MoSCoW): https://fearby.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Infographic-So-you-have-an-idea-for-an-app-v1-2.jpg v1.1 (1st Nov 2017, Fixed Typos): https://fearby.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Infographic-So-you-have-an-idea-for-an-app-v1-1.jpg todo: Things to add Issues to fix in 1.4: - Add user personas and Epic, Story and Task stages. - How to capture good stories (and validated ideas (landing pages/interviews/problems/value/painpoints)
Define the problem(s) (pain points)
Before you start coding, do list your app requirements (problem’s to solve (pain points)).
Atlassian JIRA or Trello can help with this. I personally use (and like) Atlaz.io (now Hygger), I reviewed the BETA here).
Using Trello lists are also a simple way to capture tasks/ideas.
More on these Read more here also read my Atlaz.io BETA Preview here.
Nothing beats pen and paper too.
Must-Have Should-Have, Could-Have and Won’t-have are buckets you should sort ideas into. If you have trouble moving items away from Must to Should, Could or Won’t then assign a fictitious monetary value to spend on each item and that will help you decide what is more important.
Read this MoSCoW Method article at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MoSCoW_method
Managing MoSCoW tasks on paper is OK if you do not want to use planning software.
Read my guide on how to prototype apps with Adobe XD guide here. You can also Prototype a Web app with Platforma (review here).
Read my post on how to develop software and stay on track.
Do research your idea for market fit/need, competition, complexity, legal and validate ideas early. It’s best to find out early that Google will quote $60,000+ TAX a year to allow you to use Google map’s in your app early, then you can use https://www.mapbox.com for $499 a year.
Do you have competition?
Some people say “don’t develop an app that already exists”. Why would you develop a new Uber app? Henry Ford did make a new transportation mode when people were happy with horses, other car manufacturers like Tesla are moving in on the space so don’t be discouraged.
A landing page with a signup form (Newsletter and Register Interest) form is a good way to validate ideas and get feedback early (I would suggest you use a free Mainchimp signup form, a generated website with Platforma on a $5/m server for quick results). There is no point coding and launching to crickets.
Do you have an app Prototype or Mock-Up?
This is very important and easy step. Programs like Adobe XD CC (read my guide here) and Balsamiq can help you prototype an app, Platforma can help you prototype web apps.
Have you validated your idea (app) with end-users?
If you don’t do this you are mad. Watch this video to see lessons learned from Trades Cloud.
Is this app idea a hobby (passion)?
This can help you limit costs and expectations. Cheap serves exist (read here and here).
Do you have time to develop/manage this?
Developing and managing an app and planning (paying for) development cycle can be time-consuming and mentally draining.
Can you code?
Do you need to hire developers or learn to code? Blog post coming soon on how to hire coders.
Do you have funds?
Having funds on hand to set up and build an app is very important.
Do you want to hide developers (or get Venture Capital)?
This can help you get moving but you will have to give away a slice of the profits and or IP, managing mentors and VC’s can be tiresome.
Have you set failure criteria (post-mortem)?
Read this page on lessons learned from over 200 startup failures, save your favourites. Having realistic goals and limits is a wise idea, do stop when you reach preset limits.
Do you have a business case?
There is plenty of business case generator template’s, you will want to document some of the following.
- What is your apps Purpose – App X will be..
- What is your Mission Statement – App X will..
- Who are your Target Customers – Retail..
- Who are the Early Adopters – Retail..
- What Problems does your app solve – App X will..
- What Milestones will your app go through – iOS, Android, Apple TV, Web etc..
- What Existing solutions exist – App: A, B and C..
- How does your app Solve your customer’s problems (pain points) – App X will..
- How will your app Find customers – Word of Mouth, Referrals, Advertisements?
- What is your Revenue model – Sales, Ad’s, Subscriptions?
- What is your apps Goal statement – App X will hit X users in X?
- What are your apps Failure points – If app X does not reach X or monthly costs reach Y….
- What is your Marketing message – App X will..
- What is your apps Metrics – iOS, Android, Apple TV apps..
- What is your Unfair Advantage – Why will you succeed over others?
Are you using a project management methodology?
Proven Methodology can help you develop software and stay on track, software like Atlaz, JIRA or Trello are highly recommended tools. Capturing ideas and processing feedback in tools is very important.
Before you code (or hire coders) use source code versioning software like GitHub and Bitbucket (guides here and here). You want to retain the code and insist on owning it.
Simon Sinek has a good video on companies (or Products) being in a finite or infinite game.
Are you in full control of your development stack?
If you are not a developer you may not care if you are in control, but you will if there are issues with hired developers or issues with service providers. I moved from CPanel to self-managed servers, moved from IBM Cloudant to Digital Ocean to AWS then Vultr servers where I can have full control or scalability, features, security and costs.
Can you forecast the costs?
Lowering cost and boosting performance is important and having spare money is a good thing.
I read recently that Telsla is burning through $6,000 a minute and is forecast to need something like 2 billion dollars in the next 2 years. Software as Service platforms will drain your budget quick (they do take on some risk and maintenance tasks), is this worth it?
Mark Fedin (CEO and Co-founder at Atlaz) has a great post on the topic of viability Stop Dabbling At Startups .
Are you using the right tech?
Don’t be afraid of changing tech along the way, you may start with MySQL and move to MongoDB, Redis, Oracle ot MSSQL database servers etc.
Do you have systems to capture customer feedback?
Self-explanatory, you are solving customer problems, right? You will pivot in the first year (trust me).
What is your revenue/sales model?
If you don’t know how to make money then don’t make an app (apps are expensive to code and maintain).
Are you prioritizing task?
I have blogged about this before, do use the tools to stay on track.
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v1.5 Fixed typos and fixed CDN link issue.
v1.4 Updated the graphic to version v1.3.
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