How long does a Mobile App Development Project Take to Complete?

Mobile App Development
April 1, 2020

As per Statista, mobile applications are said to generate $935.2 billion US dollars in revenue through in-app advertising and paid downloads. This clearly projects the increasing demand for apps among consumers and the need for creating and marketing excellent apps by businesses.

If we look at the number of apps available for download, currently there are 2.57 million apps in the Google Play Store for Android users while Apple’s App Store has around 1.84 million apps available for download. This clearly means a great opportunity for many businesses that are planning to shine in this area!

However, something that they want to know before leaping is “How much time and effort are needed to build a successful mobile application?” So, here in this article, we will be discussing the various aspects of mobile app development, which affect the time and effort taken to complete the app project. Keep reading to know more!

Scope of the app

It is understood that a smaller app will take less time to develop compared to a bigger one. So the first thing that you need to do is to outline the scope of the app as it will let you know how long it takes to build it. This will also save you from the rework of going back and working on the app idea for including additional features. So when it comes to analyzing the scope of the app, you should start by understanding the requirements of the target audience. You should try to know whether there are any similar kinds of app in the market and whether such apps are in demand in the market or not. You should also look for apps in the market that offer a similar solution to the target users. In case there are such similar apps, you need to be clear about how your new app will be different.

The complexity of the project

The size of the project and complexity decide the app development time. This clearly means that you will need to invest more time and effort to build feature-rich apps. In short, you cannot come up with a mobile app like Uber within a week but, you can decide the timeframe of the app development by putting everything together.

The time taken to develop a mobile app can depend on the kind of app you are developing and the functionality you plan to add in. However, you need to understand that you should not come up with a basic version by removing all the important features just to release your app within a week or two. You should instead start your work by focusing on the must-have features of the app. These can be basic features for which the app has been developed in the first place. You can look at the rest afterward. If you fail to properly prioritize the features within the app in the first place then you will end up having a scope that is not clearly defined. Now this means you will spend months to come up with an app that is overcrowded with functionality and without a clear vision.

Functions and features

The features and functions included in the app are what decide how long it will take to complete it. Whether there is any strong demand in the market for the solution that the app offers can be determined now. Once it has been done then the next step is to come up with the operational method for the app. It is also important to decide how the app will collect and manage data apart from deciding the tasks performed by it, its capabilities, and the extent of its features and functions.

To come up with the app design time, the first step to take is to come up with a storyboard. This will help to understand the different screens in the app as well as their internal connections through clear visual representation. The time to create the design will depend on the features and functions included in the app. It is also important to decide the operating systems on which the app will be available for download once the development tasks get completed. This is important too as the development time will get longer if the app has to be developed for two or more operating systems. Compared to the iOS platform, developing an app for Android takes some more time. The reason for it is that you will find several Android devices in the market and you need to come up with an app solution that is optimized for all of them.

Now, when we try to determine the time taken for the scoping process, (which includes deciding the features and functions) it can take around 1-2 weeks for a small app. For a medium-sized app, you will have to spend a week more and it can take around 3-4 weeks for a bigger app project.

Design and development

This is considered as one of the most important steps to decide whether the frontend and the backend of the app are compatible with each other or not. Here, at this juncture, the designers and developers working on the app need to ensure that the frontend design of the app has properly developed backend solution to back.

During the app development, the front-end design covers the app development areas like UI design, wireframing, caching, and development. On the other hand, the backend solutions are all about data storage, data integration, user management, versioning, and others. All these solutions need to be coded to help with calculating the results which can then be displayed on the app UI.

To ensure the frontend and the backend of the app are integrated properly, the developers and designers need to communicate with each other continuously. In the absence of this communication, chances are more that app development will face delays that will arise from reworks taking place regularly after the end of the cycle.

App design and development can depend on the features included in the app and its size itself. It can take around 2-3 weeks for a simple app to get done with design while, the app with complex features can take around 9-10 weeks for the process.

Quality and testing

Before you let your app go live in the market you need to test it. This will ensure that you have built a quality solution. You should check every small detail in your app which includes coming up with a flawless design while ensuring operational efficiency.

Many app development companies fail to allow enough time for quality assurance when planning the project timeline. Every issue that is found by the QA team needs to be resolved and checked again by running the app. This will ensure the app does not crash unexpectedly on the user’s device. This clearly means that apart from app designing and development, you need to plan for bug fixing too. This indicates that your project timeframe will be greatly affected by the complexity and number of bugs.

Target platform

There can be changes in your app development timeframe based on the platform you plan to choose first. When you are launching your app for the first time, you should be considering iOS first as it comes with a limited number of OS versions and devices to target.

Now in the case of Android, there are more than 12,000 devices and practically it is not possible to optimize your app for each one of them. This means developing and testing a mobile application for Android takes more time unless and until you decide to limit the screen resolutions and supported devices.

Now, in case you plan to build a mobile application both for Android and iOS, you can expect the project timeframe to go double.

Development team

Another important factor that will influence the release framework of the app is the development team you chose for the project. You will be able to reduce the development time by choosing the developers who have the right skills and excellent domain knowledge. You may end up having your development tasks stretched for weeks if you end up hiring inexperienced developers for the task.

For app development, the size of the team matters too. The work, a dedicated development team can do for you cannot be achieved by hiring a freelancer. Even if you plan to hire a remote team for the project, you will not be able to have the project done efficiently because it will lack in terms of competent project management, coordination, and communication.

Again, it will be a risk to take care of your app development on your own unless you are an expert in various areas of development. In case you are not good at something, then you will need to spend months learning it. If you don’t do that then you will end up developing an app poor in quality.

Final thoughts

The more time you spend on the planning before actually starting to work on the design and development will help the app development in a better way. It would be wise to spend time on building system diagrams, style boards, user experience mockups, etc. Such proactive steps will help you remove the surprises out of your project and complete it within the decided timeframe. After working on your app for a couple of months and spending time on designing and developing, you will have better clarity regarding the app’s features and functionalities. Keep in mind that the worth of your time spent on creating the app only shows up once users start using it.

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