Taking your vision for a custom desktop or mobile app for your business, organization, or institution and turning it into a reality is exciting! You’ll finally be able to offer your clients, patients, or employees the versatility and functionality that you’ve only dreamt about until now. The software may also allow you to scale your business in a way that, up until now, was totally impossible!
With all of the pros of creating a custom app are cons, of course. Developing an app is expensive and time consuming, and it just isn’t for everyone. In this post, we’ll discuss the biggest problems that our innovative partners experience with their apps, both during the development stage and after the software is launched.
This article is broken into a number of sections:
- #1 Scope Creep
- #2 Unrealistic Expectations
- #3 Wanting the project to be “perfect” prior to launch.
- #4 The product owner does not have enough time to commit to the project.
- #5 App problems after launch.
#1. Scope Creep
There are three main components of any software project: the scope (exactly what is needed to complete the project), the budget, and the timeline for completion. They form a triangle, and when one of those components change, they all must be adjusted. Scope creep occurs when the scope of a software development project changes in a way that the overall size of the project expands without the duration of the project or its cost being discussed; where the entire project has unexpectedly “crept” to a larger size.
What is Scope Creep?
The three main components of a software development project include the scope (exactly what is needed to complete the project), the budget, and the timeline for completion. They form a triangle, and when one of those components change, they all require adjustment. Scope creep occurs when the scope of a software development project changes in a way that the overall size of the project expands without the duration of the project or its cost being discussed; where the entire project has unexpectedly “crept” to a larger size.
How Does Scope Creep Happen?
Scope creep often occurs from a lack of communication between the project owner and the developer. The project owner may request changes to the scope that, to him, seem like simple changes, while, in actuality, it may take additional time and, as discussed in “How Much Does a Custom App Cost,” the time involved in developing an app equates to money spent.
How Should I Feel about Scope Creep?
Whether scope creep is viewed as good or bad often depends on the time and budget allotted to the project. If the increase of the scope benefits both the end user and the product owner and the product owner is able to afford the additional cost and can make allowances for the extra time, scope creep can be beneficial. On the other hand, if the product owner is under budget or has time constraints and cannot afford for the project to get larger, scope creep can cause a problem.
How Can Scope Creep Be Avoided?
Scope Creep can often be avoided by clear communication between the project owner and the developer. It is suggested that the project owner attempt to clearly communicate any changes they wish to make to their apps to the developer while, at the same time, the developer be clear about the time involved in making those changes. If this is done, both the product owner and the developer should walk away with a clear understanding about how the proposed changes will affect the cost and duration of the project.
#2 Unrealistic Expectations
What Are Unrealistic Expectations?
A product owner has an unrealistic expectation about the app they are creating. The software they hoped for cannot be realistically delivered by the programmer.
What Common Unrealistic Expectations Do Visionaries Have?
Most unrealistic expectations can fall under the following categories:
- The technology does not yet exist to bring their vision to life so the developer cannot create it.
- The visionary lacks the budget needed to create the app they want.
- Whether the project is big or small, it cannot be completed within the timeframe which the visionary wants it by.
How Do You Avoid Unrealistic Expectations?
Unrealistic expectations can often be avoided through collaboration and communication of the product owner with the software development team. Together, they set expectations for the software that meet the needs of the product owner and end user within their time frame and budget. This collaboration is not a one-time occurrence, either. As the project develops, we recommend that the innovator regularly checks on the status of their project. In that manner, their expectations can be continuously reviewed and modified, as needed, to make certain that their needs continue to be met.
#3. Wanting the Project to be “Perfect” Prior to Launch
What Is a “Perfect” App?
A “Perfect” app might also be described as “Polished”, and would occur when any of the following scenarios occur:
- When a developed app is free of possible bugs or problems.
- When an app has all of the features and functionality that the product owner feels the end user will need.
- When an app’s design is exactly how the owner wants it to look.
What Are Pros of Launching an App Before It Is Polished?
There are many possible benefits of launching an app early:
- All of the tweeks, changes, and revisions to the app that the product owner performs prior to the app’s release could potentially cost more money and time than it might cost to release it earlier and see how it is received by the user.
- The product owner will receive user feedback sooner. The visionary can then create a final product according to the needs of the user vs what the product owner guesses the user may need.
- There is less waste. The product owner can build features into the app as requested by the user vs adding functionality that the user is not interested in.
What Are Pros of Waiting to Launch until the App Is Polished?
There are several reasons why waiting might be the best recourse in some cases:
- If the product owner is certain that the functionality they intend is exactly what the end user needs.
- When the end user has a low tolerance or no tolerance for changes.
- When the user has certain expectations of what the app should entail that must be met before they will use the app at all.
#4 The Product Owner Does Not Have Enough Time to Commit to the Project
Why Must the Visionary Make a Time Commitment?
A software project relies on the vision and valuable feedback of the visionary for the project’s success. As the developers create and implement the project owner’s vision, only the visionary can discern whether their vision has been met or if the project needs to be modified, altered, or change direction to fulfill that vision.
How Much Time Commitment Is Involved?
How much time is needed from the product owner to develop their app depends on the details of the individual project. In some cases, the visionary may need to make a daily or weekly commitment. In other cases, the commitment may only be once a month. To gauge the amount of time a project owner needs to commit to their software project, they may consider how much time they may need to talk to and collaborate with the developer that would allow them to proceed with the project without having to reverse direction and redo large portions of the work if a misunderstanding occurs. In addition to specific meetings to be determined by the software developer and product owner, the developer may also need to ask occasional questions or need clarification from the visionary now and then to move the project forward. Therefore, the product owner may need to be accessible and willing to answer questions in a timely manner so their project is not delayed.
#5 App Problems After Launch
What Types of Problems Occur with Newly Launched Apps and Why?
People are creative, and the end user of an app may find new uses for the app that were not initially intended. This can cause a bug to develop in the app, where the app doesn’t act exactly as it was intended due to the unexpected actions of the users. There’s also a chance that the newly launched app can crash and not function at all, or another problem could develop with the app that we can’t foresee ahead of time. If the product owner and the program developer continue to communicate through the process of finding issues with a newly launched app, they can determine together the best ways to work through the problems while continuing to meet the product owner’s vision.
Now that you know the most common problems that visionaries have when developing a custom desktop or mobile app, you can approach software companies with the right questions to ask so you can find the company that is the best fit for you. If you live in the Boise, Idaho area, check out our article about the top software development companies in the area, and feel free to contact Matraex or call us at (208) 344-1115 with any other software questions you may have. You can even post a question on our Google Business Page. We want to help you hire the software company that is most suitable for you that can take your software vision and turn it into a reality.
Sign up to receive answers to your questions delivered directly to your inbox!
In this blog, we will go through the intricacies of the above question. We will define what a bug and a crash is, and then we will go through the initial steps a product owner can consider doing to try to solve the problem. Once we go through the preliminary methods of solving a problem, we will go into detail on the types of details to provide your app developer or IT specialist to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible with the least amount of back and forth and time wasted.
Questions that are addressed in this article include the following:
What is the difference between a bug and a crash?
A bug is when a feature of an app does not work as designed. There are many types of bugs that will be discussed in a future blog, but a few common types of bugs include the following:
- A field of a form not saving properly.
- A shopping cart not updating as new items are added.
- Push notifications not going through as intended.
- The design or layout of the app not looking as intended.
These are only a few of the many bugs that can exist, and bugs can vary widely depending on the purpose and functionality of the app. In some cases, an app could be working as it was designed, but there is a misunderstanding between the developer and the product owner on how certain aspects of the app should function, so the product owner initially considers it to be a bug. If the two groups collaborate regularly and the product owner points out things that appear to be amiss with the app, those issues will be discovered and worked out.
What people often refer to as a crash is also a type of bug. What people think of as a crash causes an app to go down completely or does not allow the user to proceed further. This type of bug can possibly be discovered when the product owner or end user visits an app and it doesn’t open at all. A crash can also sometimes be caused when a user fills out a certain field or taps a certain button on the app and it stops working, not allowing the user to do anything on the app afterward.
What are some things to try if I have a problem with my app?
When a product owner realizes that there appears to be a problem with an app, there are certain things that can be tried before getting the software developer or IT specialist involved. A bug or crash can be caused by a fault in the software itself, but it can also be caused by external factors not directly related to the app. It may be a good idea to try to eliminate other possible causes of the app malfunctioning before getting others involved:
- Refresh the app.
- If unable to refresh the app or if that doesn’t work, you can close and restart the app.
- Restart the computer or phone. Sometimes a bug exists, but it’s in the device and not the app.
- Restart the internet. This may work if a crash is actually a connectivity issue.
- For a possible crash, make sure your bills are paid to your internet service provider and to the developer. This sounds silly, but “errors” caused for this reason sometimes happen.
- If your app has a security certificate, make sure that it hasn’t expired.
- If it’s a web app, make sure that the URL you are using is correct. Inputting “http” instead of “https” can often make a difference.
If you try these different things and the problem still exists, it may be time for the app owner to report the issue to their app developer or IT specialist.
What types of info can I provide that will help my app developer or IT specialist fix the problem?
When an app owner has ruled out other possible causes of an app’s problems, it may be time to get the app developer or IT specialist involved to fix the problem. If that’s the case, the developer or specialist may want specific info to help them diagnose the issue and come up with a solution. To avoid what may seem like an endless amount of back-and-forth with them, you can gather much of the info they may need prior to writing that email or making that call:
- Provide details on exactly what’s occurring.
- Give the date and time in which the error occurred including the time zone.
- If possible, take a screenshot of the issue including any error message you received. If the issue website-based, include the web address (URL) in the screenshot.
- Inform them of the device you were using, its operating system, and the type of browser you were using (if applicable) when the problem occurred.
- Give the pathway you took to get to the error. The pathway is every step you took prior to finding the bug.
- If a user was having the problem, let the specialist know if you were able to duplicate the error. If the error appears to be happening with just one user or a group of users, acquire the above information regarding their systems, internet, and devices so the problem can be localized.
By supplying this type of information, your developer or IT specialist should have what they need to be able to find the problem that is occurring with the app and determine the best way to correct it.
To find out other problems that can occur when developing an app, visit our blog, “What Are Problems that Occur When Developing an App?”. You can also contact us, give us a call at (208) 344-1115, or place a question on our Google Business Page. We’d love to help with any questions you have about apps or app development so you are always informed and make the right decisions concerning app development.
Sign up to receive answers to your questions delivered directly to your inbox!