What is a Realistic Timeline For Mobile Application Development?

In this comprehensive guide, unravel the mobile app development journey: analysis, design, development, testing, and insights to streamline your project timeline and create an impactful, efficient mobile application.

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As we move further into the digital age, it’s becoming more apparent how a mobile app can boost your business with sales, efficiency, and customer loyalty. The big question is, how long will it take to build?

In this blog post, we will break down the different parts of mobile app development, average realistic timelines for each, common causes for delay, and what you can do to speed up the development process.

Business Analysis and Design

Your custom mobile app will have unique business requirements, these requirements will need to be understood and translated into a beautiful, intuitive, user-friendly UI/UX.

During the business analysis and design process, it’s common for the following tasks to take place:

Requirement Breakdown

Your application will be broken down into its functional parts (frontend app, backend ,API and database, administrative web panel, etc). Each of the functional parts will list the associated business rules and requirements each part should meet.

The appropriate development technologies which best meet the requirements will be chosen. From all this information, a functional specification document is created.

Expected time: 1–2 weeks.

UI / UX Design

A design expert will create a user interface that caters to each of the applications’ requirements whilst maintaining a great user experience.

Expected time: 2–4 weeks.

How Can I Save Time?

The time spent on the BA and design process can be reduced by doing the following:

Prepare requirements – you know your business and its requirements better than anyone else, before meeting with the BA and design team prepare your requirements by listing not only the requirement but also the user journey (the process the user would take to complete/use the requirement).

Be available – The BA and design team will need to ask questions and spend time with you to fully understand your requirements. The faster you are available to meet and respond to questions quickly, the faster this process will go.

Total expected time for business analysis and design: 3–6 weeks.

Application Development

Once the functional specifications and designs have been signed off, the development process can start. This is by far the most time-consuming part of the project. This is why the development is split into 2-4 week-long development sprint cycles.

The main tasks during this phase are:

Frontend Application Development

This is the application that your end-users will see and, typically, where the bulk of development time is spent. Development using the Agile methodology has an iterative approach with feedback loops to ensure that the end product meets final expectations. The app development is the area where most potential delays and setbacks would be found.

Expected Time: 6–8 weeks.

Backend API/Database Development

The backend API and database is a central hub where all data is transferred to and from between multiple applications and users. Depending on your application requirements, this may not be needed.

Expected Time: 4–6 weeks.

Admin Panel Development

Admin panels are usually web applications. They contain dashboards displaying all sorts of app statistics and app content management. This part of the app is not seen by end-users, therefore if you’re willing to deal with less sophisticated dashboards or content management systems, you can save some time on the admin panel.

Depending on your application requirements, this may not be needed.

Expected Time: 2–4 weeks.

How Can I Save Time?

While your application is being developed, please be patient. Developing a mobile app takes time and, rushing this process could result in a product which either has loads of bugs or, does not meet the requirements correctly.

At the beginning/end of each sprint cycle, make yourself available for a meeting to review the development work done in the previous sprint and confirm work for the next sprint.

Total expected time for application development: 12–18 weeks.

Testing and Maintenance

While developers do test their work when developing, bugs can sometimes creep in, after all, end-users often find interesting and unusual ways to crash/break applications.

After each sprint cycle, your application should be tested either by you (to save costs) or a professional software tester, to ensure features built in the sprint meet requirements. If any bugs or issues are found, these issues are reported to the development team to be fixed on the following sprint.

Once all development is complete and the final sprint has ended, the application should go through a rigorous end-to-end testing. Again, if any bugs or issues are found, these issues are reported to the maintenance team to be fixed.

How Can I Save Time?

If you have chosen to test your application yourself, test the application thoroughly after each sprint. If you are testing everything for the first time at the end of your application’s development, the final testing and final sign-off will be more time-consuming.

Expected Time: 2–4 weeks.

Final Thoughts

Building a mobile application is an exciting but time-consuming process. You should expect a 3-6+ month period from start to finish, depending on the complexity of your application.

If you need to get to market quickly, consider which features are 100% necessary, which are nice to have, and remove the nice to have’s. This will not only help you get to market quickly, but also lower the cost for the initial MVP.

Choosing the right team to build your app will make or break your project. Your development team should be skilled and experienced to deliver your mobile app at the highest quality.

At Appstrax we believe that having talented developers is not enough. It is crucial to nurture long-term relationships with our clients. With collaboration and transparent communication, we can deliver the best in class mobile applications.

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