Apps have evolved into integrated, complex solutions that are dependent on the involvement of a variety of teams within a business, so when considering requirements and deadlines, time and availability for key stakeholders needs to be taken into account.
Identifying these teams and who needs to be involved, as early as possible, allows all parties to understand the importance of their role. It also ensures a well-rounded and considered solution. For example, a functional requirement from a product team or a proposed UX /UI approach, might have implications. A requested feature may require input from legal/compliance or backend teams.  This may affect the technical approach such as, the decision to re-use existing APIs or create bespoke services for the app.
It’s essential that the project is planned thoroughly from the very beginning in order to ensure all teams are aware of timescales. It’s often the case that an app project for one team can be number one priority, but it may rely heavily on other teams that have other projects of high importance. These conflicting priorities can be avoided by carefully planning clear roadmaps for the project.
Coordinating diaries, defining responsibilities and getting buy-in from stakeholders at the early stages can help to mitigate any delays when trying to pin down timescales and deadlines. A realistic plan is essential, and one that everyone involved feels is totally achievable.
We tend to think that a flexible approach is beneficial, but always within a well-defined process. Including key milestones at each stage of the project helps to ensure everyone involved has a clear understanding of where they should be and also makes the decision-making process easier to manage. It also makes large projects feel a little less daunting.
Collaborative working doesn’t stop at the planning stage and is not just limited to the IT decision makers within a business – what about the end users? Ideas and solutions may seem ideal in principle, but in practice, will they actually achieve the desired KPIs?
User testing can be a good indication as to whether the decisions made so far will provide an app that is fit for purpose, whatever that may be. It may highlight improvements that can be factored into the app at an early stage to avoid more costly changes at a later stage of the project.
Third party collaboration is another area to be considered when it comes to collaborative working. It’s essential that third parties are involved in the process so they fully understand the project’s requirements and objectives.
For example, the app may be reliant on web services that are being developed by a third party, but if these are not in place then there will be a limit on how far the project can progress, as integration and full end-to-end testing will be reliant on these services. Making sure any third parties are involved and, sometimes more importantly, in touch with each other, will help things run as smoothly as possible.
In our experience, direct contact with other parties you or your app developer may want to work with, can save a lot of time and money. Making sure the correct members of each team are constantly in the know removes the risk of ‘chinese whispers’ and misunderstandings.
At Mubaloo, we’ve found the best way to work with clients on their mobile strategies and app development is through a collaborative partnership. Apps have become much more complex and therefore teams need to work closely together to ensure the project is delivered on time and reduce any overrun that can lead to an increase in costs or a compromise on quality.
Louise Sturgess, Project Director

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