What is mobile application development, stages of app development, mobile app development process and mobile app development team structure in a nutshell

What is mobile application development

Mobile application development is a software engineering process that consists of steps directed towards creating a software product possible to directly run on mobile devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, leveraging their operating system's and hardware's possibilities. Among such options are boosting performance; efficient memory usage; utilizing cameras, GPS, gyroscope; additional security and personalization levels.


Mobile app development process most often contains five to ten core stages. E.g. ideation and business logic design, UX/UI and technical design, mobile application development ( software engineering stage ), testing, release into production( in majority cases publication on App Store and/or Play Market) and maintenance.


Stages of app development

When developing mobile apps, it should be sufficient enough if you include these stages of app development:

1. Ideation, forming business hypotheses, defining and prioritizing mobile app features for different user roles, describing additional background logic

This is one of the main stages that mobile development teams should concentrate on when developing mobile apps. Mobile development team must complete this step before any technical work starts. It is essential to properly plan how your future application should work in different scenarios for various user types. This mobile app development stage is also the best time to think about business models and monetization and external services to embed in the future mobile app.


2. Defining UX flows, designing technical architecture for your mobile app.

When you plan steps to develop an app, you can not forget about user experience. Take one of the existing tools to create interactive mockups and design how interactions and screens should look in your mobile app. Next step is to take those user flows and design mobile application architecture, database structure, basic system modules.


3. Mobile application development: software engineering stage.

If your mobile development team is experienced and completes previous mobile app development stages thoroughly, this stage will not be that hard. If you are developing mobile apps that do not require server logic, you will only need iOS and Android developers. If your mobile app also has a server-based API, you will need to hire a web developer at this stage.


4. QA, quality assurance. Manual and automated testing as an integral part of a mobile app development process.

Depending on how big your app development team is, a project manager, product manager or QA engineer can support this stage of mobile app development. It is crucial to have test scenarios prepared to ensure thorough and efficient testing. Another challenge that you should prepare for is the variety of mobile devices you must use to test. As an alternative, you can either utilize a cloud-based mobile device infrastructure or request services from a QA team with different phones, tablets and specializes in mobile app testing.


5. Publishing in App Store or Play Market, tasks to do

This is a very important stage of a mobile app development process that includes:

  • preparing graphics of your mobile app UI look for different devices' types

  • preparing titles and descriptions optimized for stores

  • setting analytics

  • enabling production mode for payments and in-app purchases if applicable

  • communicating with store's publication manager


6. Support and maintenance of existing mobile application, important tasks

Mobile application development is not finished after a release. These tasks are to take of after publication:


  • software updates

  • ongoing bug fixes

  • updating your mobile application based on new stores', and

  • operating systems' requirements

  • re-design of a mobile app

  • performance improvements and code refactoring


Mobile app development team structure

1. Mobile app product owner

A person responsible for successful development of a mobile application includes but not restricted to setting relevant business goals, deliverables' priorities, accepting budget scope and deadlines, technology and system architecture setup, team structure, tools and methodologies for management and mobile application development.


2. Mobile application product manager

A mobile app development specialist whose primary responsibility is to design new and enhance existing features in a way that ensures improving your mobile application growth metrics( number of users, number of customers, revenue and income ) through a better product-market fit


3. Business analyst, UX/UI specialist

In the mobile app development process, a business analyst might also be responsible for user experience. This specialist's main task is to properly define technical specs based on known business and product requirements. This professional is also in direct contact with a product manager and a product owner. Moreover, in smaller projects, the business analyst's role in mobile app development team structure sometimes covers the product manager's responsibilities. 

UI specialist, aka a mobile application graphic designer, works on how nice the app visual look will be. UI designer takes care of mobile app design, its fonts, colours, spacing, etc.


4. Mobile app development project manager

A project manager is responsible for efficient resources allocation, correct tasks distribution among subordinate team members and timely information delivery between all team members and stakeholders. When developing mobile apps, PM also takes care of financial, time and resources risks by analysing mobile app development progress, chosen by tech team tools, business requirement changes if they exist.


5. Mobile app developer

Is a software development engineer who is proficient in one or all mobile app development technologies. In the mobile app development team structure, a mobile developer is an essential specialist on a stage of delivering a future mobile application. He works on embedding business and technical requirements in a real product and is responsible for doing that according to time limits, scope, and an approved quality level.


6. Server-side web developer

When a mobile application requires a server database and logic, the mobile app development team will need to have a web developer. Whose usual task is to develop a database and server logic that a mobile app will interact with over API.



7. DevOps, system administrator 


These engineers take care of setting proper mobile app development infrastructure, software development flow, backup services, GIT, containers and CI/CD tools if needed. It is very important to have this kind of specialists in the software house that is going to develop a mobile app.



8. QA engineer


Before releasing the ready mobile application, it should be tested and approved for publication. Test scenarios are usually prepared based on user flows and initial specification documentation. QA engineers create bug reports as a part of the mobile app development process. In collaboration with software engineers, they deliver bug fixes until the app is stable and ready for App Store or Play Market release.



As you can see, mobile apps development is very similar to web application development but at the same time has its specific details which in their turn require knowledge and experience. 

Mobile app development process might be a bit more complicated than creating a simple website, but it will make your mobile app development effective if you follow the information above.

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