The planning stages of app development can always seem like a herculean task. And conceptualizing the app is the most important of the entire project. This is what leads to all the other aspects of app development. Your goal during this process should be to finish it in a focused and timely manner. And for all of this to take place smoothly, a mobile app development project plan is key. A preplan meaning is simple, pre-planning is not just planning out the various stages of the project but also includes your plan of action in case of obstacles and any problems along the way. There are fluctuations in any kind of business cycle and mobile app development is no different. Pre-planning will aid in having a strategy for at least some of the issues that might come up.

What are the benefits of Pre-Planning?

  • The efficient and effective streamlined development process
  • You get an insight into your competition, market trends, and targeted audience
  • Better communication of the concept of the mobile app with the entire team
  • Getting the cost projection of the app development

It is important to note that a lack of pre-planning can lead to insufficient data and an undefined concept for your team. Added to this you will also see a significant increase in the costs and a potential time delay in the entire project’s deadline. This whole process has a flow to it. Lack of pre-planning leads to mistakes which leads to unplanned corrections to be made which will require more manpower and be more expensive and all these reworks finally result in project launch delays. 

In any pre-planning stage there are 3 basic questions to be asked:

  • What can the app do?
  • Should I build the app?
  • If yes then how would it function?

Now let’s take a deeper divide into how to pre-plan for mobile app development.

Phase1: Define your concept

The first stage in making any plan is to lay out your concept. Start by writing down a small description of the app. Write everything down in simple terms in a way that will help others on the team to understand. Try to keep it short as possible. Cut out any frivolous or exaggerated parts. Only include the core idea of the app and key features. Try and answer the following questions:

  • What would the app do?
  • How would it work?
  • In what manner do you see it engaging with the end-users?
  • What expectations and hopes do you have for the app?

Phase 2: Who is your audience?

Defining who your targeted audience is will help you out in two things; you can market your app better in the later stages and second, you can make an informed decision on your design. This can be seen as one of the most important stages that will impact the decisions you make once the mobile app is built. You can only make decisions about how to market the app when you know the market.

This stage would help you see what your audience’s “buying” behavior is. This phase can be further divided into 3 parts:

  • Who are the users? For example the demographic.
  • What is the problem that you hope to fix?
  • Is there any kind of gap in the marketplace for your app?

Phase 3: Identifying the Competition

Chances are unless you have an extraordinarily unique idea, there are some kinds of other apps existing in the market. You don’t have to be too disheartened with this as you can use it to your advantage. You can learn and understand the market the best way by analyzing what your competitors are doing. See their features, how their app works, and if there is a place in the market for another. By doing so you are able to find the gaps in the market that can make your mobile app a way to fill those gaps. See if you are able to find answers to the following questions:

  • Is the app successful or not? Regardless of it being yes or no further look into why
  • What was their marketing strategy?
  • Do they have a competitive advantage?
  • Do they have any in-app purchases?

Phase 4: Brainstorming session with your team

It has been proven time and time again that brainstorming has helped teams improve and redefine their app ideas. These sessions help in bringing forward new suggestions and innovative ideas from different members of your team. It is suggested that during this phase you include as many members from different fields as you can. This will help in giving you a more rounded insight into the entire project and help develop a strong concept. The more perceptive you add the better, whether it’s a marketing, customer, or technical perspective, everything counts.

Phase 5: Make an app flowchart

This phase involves you translating your idea into a flowchart. With this, you should be able to explain your app concept, workflows, and all its functionalities easily to the development team once you reach that stage. The entire point of a flowchart is so that everyone involved in the project, whether it be you, your marketing team, the developers of the app, and any other member of the company, should be able to visualize the app clearly. The flowchart should be clear, simple, and concise.  You can end up with a successful app when the developers who you partner with in the end have a few things clear in their heads:

  • What is it that you expect from them?
  • What are all the features which you wish to be added to the app?
  • What is your end goal?

Phase 6: Look into the technical feasibility

Depending on whether you want to partner with software development or go for your in-house team, you have to discuss the technical feasibility of the whole idea. It would include things like, platform capability, connections, device type, support requirement, security, etc.

So as you can see pre-planning is necessary for the very foundation of your mobile app or rather any other project that you take part in. Don’t think of pre-planning as wasting time in the beginning before getting started with the real development part. Rather think of it as a means through which you avoid spending more money than your budget allows and being able to maintain your timeline.