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Apps are products, not projects — top tips for enterprise apps

To address one of the biggest issues that companies fall into with mobile, Darren Ball, a mobile strategy consultant at Mubaloo, discusses the need for companies to stop thinking about app projects and start thinking products.

Today, when approaching mobile, companies often struggle to realise the value of working with an expert third-party development agency. When Mubaloo first started, we tended to find that companies weren’t joined up when it came to mobile – apps were created in silos, as marketing gimmicks, or sometimes vanity projects by CEOs. This isn’t to knock what happened back then, it was important for companies to test mobile apps and see whether they would deliver value. The problem was, many apps were created without having a true purpose or value for end users.

Today, it’s a very different world.

Today, it’s about understanding the entire business operation and creating a roadmap for how digital and mobile will help to transform different areas, tackling each need in order of priority.

Companies now understand the value of mobile in the enterprise and the role it plays in improving efficiencies and productivity. Over the past few years, Mubaloo’s consultancy team has seen a huge shift in the market, with companies looking to understand how to better incorporate mobile as part of their business strategy.

To address one of the biggest issues that companies fall into with mobile, Darren Ball, a mobile strategy consultant at Mubaloo, recorded the video below discussing the need for companies to stop thinking about app projects and start thinking products. In this article, we lay out Darren’s key points.

How to be successful with mobile

Success with mobile is centered around achieving business agility. Business agility is the ability to rapidly respond to change, without losing momentum or strategic focus. This requires that mobile strategists and companies need to embrace a new philosophy to help drive success and deliver the types of improvements and innovation that leading companies desire.

1. Think Products; not projects

A mistake that so many companies fall into is the idea that they are working on projects. This will set you up for failure in the long term. Instead, you need to view apps as products that will improve over time. This is the idea that you’re not developing a one off project, you’re developing a continuous product.

Therefore, businesses will need to:

  • Understand the product vision
  • Have a road map for that product
  • Prioritise the features, ranked by value and complexity

Doing so will then enable companies to embrace the following:

  • Continuous learning; exploring what the improvement or change has been, what’s working and what can be improved or changed over time
  • Understand what you need to do differently in order to apply that learning, in a way that delivers most value to you and your users
  • Deliver products to the market as quickly as possible in order to realise its value

The importance of this lies with the strategy. Having a product is nothing without execution and strategic vision is nothing without the ability to execute. Within this, it’s also important to remember that with mobile apps, you can’t build them and then just leave them. As a continuous product, you need to be taking your learnings and reviewing how improvements can be made, at least every six months.

Businesses also need to think about how their internal and external relationships enable them to successfully execute on their vision.

2. Collaboration; not negotiation

Collaboration promotes an ability to succeed. On the other hand, negotiation suffocates a team’s ability to execute. Therefore, in your team you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How are you embracing change?
  • How are you providing an environment in which you are paying for in time and materials to achieve value and not a specific scope?

Companies need to understand that scopes are going to change over time, based on what you want to achieve and the best route to get there. Sticking stringently to a scope will lead to a poor user experience and higher chance of failure. Recognising this is a skill needed to keep up with the rapidly changing industry.

Companies should be asking whether the commercial arrangement that they have in place is one that is providing them with:

  • The ability to execute
  • Maintain momentum
  • Fulfil the strategic vision at speed

3. Governance; not autocracy

A lot of companies feel anxious or worried about having an open scope that is focused on embracing change, rather than focused on delivering something very specific.

Companies therefore need to shift their mindset away from delivering the scope, to delivering what they consider to be of value. This requires that firm have a governance framework in place. Afterall, a company wouldn’t manage an investment portfolio without any governance. Governance is also important when mobile app consultancies are managing a mobile portfolio.

Every product, or every release, that you want to build is an investment proposition that your business has to make. You need to give them the tools to enable them to make a decision, one way or another.

That means understanding:

  • What is the value that you’re proposing to achieve?
  • How is your mobile application or portfolio as a whole currently performing?

It’s important that your product delivery teams are accountable for the results that they have committed to. It’s up to you to hold them accountable as part of this mobile application portfolio.

Overall, award-winning applications are a result of the partnership that make them possible. These are the partnerships that allow for you to achieve your business agility. Therefore, in order to achieve success and business agility, companies must always keep in mind the idea of products; not projects, collaboration; not negotiations and finally governance; not autocracy.

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Contact Mubaloo by phone +44 (0)203 327 8333 or email

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