At the heart of any successful mobile app development initiative resides a talented and experienced project manager or ScrumMaster. They perform multiple roles throughout the project, including leading the planning process, ensuring developers stay focused, and serving as a conduit for communication between the team and business stakeholders. In fact, without a top-shelf PM on board, any mobile development project runs the risk of failure.
While mobile app development projects share many similarities with other software engineering undertakings, their differences remain notable. Managing the QA portion of the project requires a discerning approach considering the massive array of mobile devices, especially on the Android platform. The limited screen real estate and computational horsepower of the smartphone means the PM also needs to focus the team on what’s technically realistic.
So let’s look more closely at a few best practices for managing a mobile app development project. Leverage these insights to ensure your company’s next mobile software initiative successfully completes on time and under budget. It’s the right approach for crafting a digital venture able to captivate the world.
Detailed Project Specifications are a Must
As noted earlier, the differences between (and within!) mobile platforms require a detailed approach to defining the requirements and subsequent specifications for any mobile app. In short, what works for iOS may not be possible on Android, especially when considering high-performance rich media functionality.
In this scenario, the PM must rely on the senior software engineers with significant experience with mobile app development for both iOS and Android. They help ensure you outline the scope of your app development project and the app’s specs meet the specific guidelines for both platforms. Just like with any other software project, make sure the business stakeholders and/or clients approve the requirements and specifications in writing before proceeding with the project.
Additionally, senior developers understand the differences in tasks between mobile development and applications for the web or desktop. This knowledge informs the project manager’s efforts creating the work breakdown structures necessary for any detailed project plan.
Use a Modern Software Development Methodology
A modern software development methodology, like Agile or Lean Startup, remains essential for any mobile app development project. Older methodologies, like the Waterfall, fail to catch any design mistakes or coding errors early enough in the project. As such, this makes them more costly to fix when eventually discovered.
Lean Startup’s minimum viable product (MVP) concept serves as a functional prototype that dovetails nicely with the management needs of a mobile app project. Business stakeholders and QA engineers provide valuable insights throughout the project. Consider following this modern approach to mobile app development for a better chance of a successful project outcome.
Expect a More Complex QA Process
As noted earlier, a mobile app – depending on its target audience – must work on a wide array of devices with varying tech specs and screen sizes. As such, expect to spend extra effort on the QA portion of each project cycle. While software emulators help to vet the app’s UI and functionality with different screen sizes, no true substitute exists for real hardware devices.
PMs with experience managing web application development projects understand the difficulty in ensuring a website works in multiple browsers. Tthe element of different hardware specifications among mobile devices adds an extra layer of complexity and time to this equation. Keep this fact in mind when developing the project’s overall schedule and when planning each individual sprint.
A Top-Shelf Modern Project Management Tool Becomes Essential
Any modern software development project benefits from using a state of the art project management tool. They are especially helpful when wrangling the complex nature of any mobile app development project. Once the app gets deployed on the App Store or Google Play managing updates also becomes important. Having the history of the project at your fingertips when using the right tool helps this post-production stage.
Well-considered PM applications like Asana or Basecamp also facilitate communication between the manager and their project team as well as stakeholders. Each team member has access to all the project information and are able to update their current status to the rest of the group. This kind of functionality becomes valuable when managing a team of remote developers for a client that also resides in a different location.
Also consider finding a project management tool that integrates with GitHub or the source code repository used by the software development team. Again, this functionality improves the efficiency of the entire team while letting the PM keep track of the source code flow of their project. All told, while helping the PM manage the details of the project, a top-shelf tool also facilitates the critical communication necessary to design and craft an exceptional mobile app.
If you have a great business idea for a captivating mobile app, reach out to our team at NineTwoThree. We boast significant history crafting compelling digital ventures, including apps and interactive websites. Our team combines strong technical know-how with business acumen to ensure a successful result. Connect with us to discuss a potential partnership.