You want to develop an app, but you are not sure how long it will take. Do you need to hire an outside development team? Should you do it yourself? How much time will web app development really take?
This article takes an in-depth look at all of the key factors that affect the amount of time it takes to develop a web app and shows you how you can use this information to make realistic plans for your project.
What kind of Web App are you Developing?
There are two types of apps that you can develop internal or external. An organization’s employees, members, or customers use an internal app. An external app is available for download on an app store and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.
How long it takes to develop your app depends on what kind of app you are creating. External apps take longer because they involve more elements, including interface design, backend infrastructure creation, testing processes, etc.
One group of people, making them much easier to develop, builds internal apps for use. They can take anywhere from 2–12 weeks but average around 8 weeks. External apps are more complex and therefore take longer. The development process can take anywhere from 6–24 weeks or even longer if you look for perfection in your final product.
When are you planning to launch your app?
If you have a launch date in mind, it is good to know how long things will take. If you can map out your schedule and deadlines now, that is great. You will not miss your deadline, and you will know exactly what needs to be done.
If you have no launch date in mind, that is okay too. It is still good to have an idea of how long things will take. You can use that information later on when your app is done. Also, you want to sell it or release it for beta testing.
Knowing how long things took when you worked alone could give you an idea of what it would take if you hired employees or freelancers. And they can help produce work more quickly than doing everything yourself.
Who will be developing your web app?
This may be an obvious question, but not all web app development companies work similarly. Will you be working with one person or several people on your project? What expertise do they have, and how much experience do they have in web app development?
For example, if you need help developing an iPhone application and a website for your business, look for a developer who can work across platforms and has worked on both websites and iPhone apps before.
You may also want to think about how you would like your communication with your web app developer to be handled. Do you prefer using email, instant messaging, or do you need regular phone calls and meetings?
Be sure that any communication preferences you have are covered in your contract before work begins on your project. You can discuss these issues and more with potential candidates during interviews and vetting processes if necessary.
Do you have an idea of what you want the web app to do?
If you have a great idea, that will help estimate how long it will take for someone to develop it. Be sure your vision is clearly defined; there should be no grey areas about what will actually be built.
If you can write an exhaustive list of features that would make up your app, then you are well on your way. If not, you may want help writing out requirements before moving forward with finding development help.
A great idea is often followed by an exhaustive list of features and functions. If you are looking for someone to build your dream app, it makes sense that you will need to be specific about what it will do and how it will function.
Imagine if someone asked you, would you please make me dinner tonight? You might say, I can make chicken parmesan or spaghetti with meatballs.
What features are most important to your business model/web app function?
Which features do you need in your web app for it to be truly successful? If you are looking for quick prototyping, you might only need certain core features. On the other hand, if your business model depends on your customer’s ability to export data in CSV format, you will want that feature front and center.
Writing out which features are most important will help focus your efforts when building out your web app. Other factors also come into play, like whether you want users to register for an account or not to build a site for your business.
In that case, you might want registration capabilities so that customers can check out their order history and make suggestions or complaints directly through your website. On the other hand, if you build an e-commerce store with no direct contact with customers (like Amazon), registration capabilities are not as important.