Developers look at the app development process completely different than the business side does. Getting that line of code to work or meeting deliverable deadlines on-time might constitute success for developers. But for stakeholders on the business side, measuring app development success is measured by return on investment
Business leaders (think: CFO) are responsible to ensure that company activities are financially profitable. Development budgets are often large, and nothing can blow through a budget like an app with no real direction. But there’s a way to keep costs under control while creating functional apps: plan your app with business intent and development targets in mind from the beginning.
Standards for success shouldn’t only be measured by development cycle success, like how much code is delivered or how many development sprints have been completed in comparison to deadlines. Companies also need baselines for judging whether development success results in benefits to the bottom line.
This all sounds like common sense, but the reality is many companies aren’t taking this crucial step. A recent study by PMI illustrates this point. PMI found that only 52 percent of projects without comprehensive project management meet “original goals and business intent.” In other words, a lot of projects essentially becomes a costly waste of time for way too many companies. As we said, software development budgets are already large, and poor direction eats money quickly.
Measuring App Development Success The Right Way
Accelerance outsourcing gurus, Steve Mezak and Tom Cooper, recently sat down to talk about exactly this issue. As a software outsourcing advisory firm, Accelerance helps companies navigate the complexities of software outsourcing. While offshore and nearshore development offers significant cost savings, you can still spend quite a bit developing an app if you’re blindly writing code and shipping without a strategy.
You should always consider how your app development advances company initiatives. Don’t just develop an app because you can: the app should serve a business purpose. Your customer (internal or external) expects the app to ease business interactions and you should expect results in terms of cost savings, increased productivity, customer loyalty or increased revenue.
This isn’t difficult. Steve and Tom advise having some type of ‘hypothesis’ on the ideal result of each release. While you still should establish a general business goal for the app development, real-world results should guide your path.
“You shouldn't be writing software if you're not going to get a return for it,” Tom argues.
Take an incremental approach to development, and don’t get too far ahead of yourself. If a new feature doesn’t produce the desired effect, such as decreasing customer support or increasing conversion, take the time to make it right before moving on. Your business stakeholders will thank you.