If you have read our blog about mobile application strategy, you may find this article a bit redundant because mobile app strategy requires us to consider many more aspects than a web app strategy.
Similar to building mobile apps, it always sounds simple to come up with an idea and implement it successfully, but there are still many complications involved, even for web apps.
Even though web apps relatively more straightforward to develop compared to mobile apps because of a more stable internet connection, and no app store regulations to comply, the application development cycle is similar, which starts with the planning and then systematically moves to design, development, security check, and final launch.
If the first step goes wrong, then the entire process becomes shaky. It is important to plan web app ideas to avoid any confusions, streamline development efforts and get better final results. Though web development sounds like a 5 step approach, it is a much more detailed process.
Planning web app ideas itself consists of these steps (if you are building an entreprise software, you can ignore step 2, 4, 5 and 10):
Step 1 – Project Definition and create use cases
This process involves documenting stakeholders’ needs with the stated intent of meeting the project’s objectives.
We begin by creating a written definition of your app idea that spells out what it will do, who the users are and why they will care about it. Make sure you can answer the following questions:
- Why does this app need to exist?
- What unique problem does it solve?
- Will it increase productivity for field agents?
- What is the business case?
In this process, technical project managers, like myself, use several techniques and tools for collecting project requirements and uses cases from all stakeholders.
The process attempts to leave no stone unturned, resulting in an in-depth list of project requirements.
If this process is performed thoroughly and correctly, it can greatly reduce the possibility of unpleasant surprises as the project moves toward completion.
Step 2 – Monetization
Far too many web apps (particularly startups) skip this step and have a hard time later turning a profit. Unless you are building the apps just for fun, you are expecting your web apps to make you money. There are many ways to cash out from your web apps: in-app purchases, subscription payments, premium features (freemium model), ad-revenue, selling user data, traditional paid apps or a buyout.
To determine which is best for your app, in this strategy, we will know what the market expects to pay and how they usually pay for similar services.
During the roadmap stage, we will also consider at what point you can begin monetizing your app. Sometimes, charging money at the beginning is a great way to get honest feedback on the products.
Step 3 – Storyboarding
With the use cases you created in step 1, we create rough sketches of the idea with template tiles. This is the first visual representation of all the screens described in the use cases.
This step will help uncover hidden usability issues. We will also be integrating the payment flow in the storyboard so that we can find the best way to capture payments.
Step 4 – Research & Compare Competitors Marketing Activities
As we gather data on your competitors, we can see how they are currently attracting online traffic to their website.
We can also find out which feature brought them the most conversions and which feature did not.
Based on this information, we can also set priorities on our web app features based on the potential return.
You can see how we research your competitors in part 4 of this article: Preparation for A Website Project: The Coding Bull Website Strategy
Step 5 – Audience Definition & Research
Knowing your audience will help us identify the key features your apps must include. You’ll need to make sure you include whatever it is that your target audience will want to be able to do on your applications. It is also a way to help refine the go to market strategy because different people have different ways to look for new and useful apps.
Step 6 – Technicals Goals & Specifications
One of the most crucial deliverables in this strategy is the technical goals for a project derived from the last five steps.
For example, instead of “improve X to be more scalable and performant,” a better and more specific goal might be to “improve X by adding unit tests, supporting 20K queries per second, and reducing capped mean of user latency to <= 200ms.”
With technical goals, we can ruthlessly cut any features that do not contribute to these goals so that we won’t be wasting resources on unnecessary features.
Step 7 – Risk Assessment
Once we have the technical goals, we will have to estimate the time required to complete them. To avoid unexpected difficulty in the project, we will divide the project into small tasks, each taking two days or less.
Pay attention to this important distinction: risks are not the same as issues. Issues are things you know you’ll have to deal with. You may even have an idea of when they’ll pop up. (Think scheduled vacations, or a spike in product demand just before the holidays.)
Conversely, risks are events that might happen, and you may not be able to tell when. (Surprise! A key product component is on backorder and will arrive a week late.) They’re slippery, and it takes some serious preparation to manage them.
If we have tasks that are scoped to “roughly one week,” they often end up taking longer because we didn’t enumerate all the subtasks that you might need to do.
However, there are times where tasks cannot be estimated because we are not sure of the execution method. These tasks are considered open-ended parts of the project.
For a project that is charged based on a project basis instead of hourly basis, we will recommend workaround solutions that we are confident of to give you a fixed quote.
Step 8 – Execution Method
For us to be confident of the estimation method, we will write down how we would develop each task, and we will also select the most suitable technology stack for your project
The technology stack is the set of languages, frameworks and database management system that power your application. Here are some common languages that help in the design and development of a web app:
- DataBase: MySQL, MongoDB(NoSQL Database), PostgreSQL
- Server: Apache, Nginx
These frameworks and languages bring out usability and functionality in your web application.
Thus, it is very important to choose this set wisely. If done improperly you will need to incur significant costs for migrating from one tech stack to another.
It is best to take expert advice while planning the technology stack for your web application.
If you are planning to outsource then you should have clarity about your requirements, technology is best figured out by the developers. Ideally, the stack should be based on the availability of developers, suitability of the language and the requirements of the application itself.
Step 9 – Development Roadmap
The final step of the strategy is constructing your app’s roadmap. The goal of this process is to understand what your app could one day become and how to get to it. This step will also help you to know what the apps need to be successful on day one, Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
During this step, we will put all of the features that we discussed in all the previous steps, and then begin ranking these items by priority. We will consider questions like:
- What are your app’s core functionalities?
- What is needed to gain users?
- What are the features that we think the users might want?
To facilitate the prioritization process, we will let you know the budget required for each feature, so you have one more tangible factor to consider besides the market information that we provide.
Once the priorities are set for the features, we will know the project cost as well as the project timeline.
Step 10 – Go To Market Strategy Recommendations
This step in the web app strategy is about identifying and recommending solutions to the challenges you will face when marketing your app.
If you are working with The Coding Bull, you will have a reliable design and development team. Driving app adoption becomes your priority.
There are thousands of beautiful and useful apps that go unused. In this step, we will help you predict what your marketing budget and marketing strategy will be. In cases, like internal-use apps or B2B apps, you might not even need marketing.