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It’s Going To Take How Long – Part Deux

This is a follow-up to my blog post “It’s Going To Take How Long?” and the problem of managing client expectations around building out a mobile app.  In the first post, the client cannot understand why it is going to take X amount of money and X amount of time to build the given mobile application. Maybe the problem is both the client and you as the project manager are rooted in the past where you always looked at timelines and cost for a soup-to-nuts project where at the end, the 1.0 application is released to production with all of the defined functionality and you begin to think about release 1.1 for the following year.
If nothing else, mobile apps have changed the way we look at releasing software to production.  Consumers expect bi-monthly updates to the software to fix bugs and add new functionality.  Instead of saying it is going to take X amount of money and X amount of time to build all of the functionality the client desires in a mobile app, the approach should be to build enough functionality to meet the base needs of the consumer with a series of bi-monthly releases adding additional functionality until the mobile app fully meets the goals of the client.  This evolutionary approach to software release allows a lower barrier of entry in terms of startup costs, a shorter time to market and allows for software corrections based on consumer feedback.  The costs and time to market savings will not be significant, there is quite a bit of work to get to that base 1.0 release but an evolutionary software development approach can ease the concerns that a large chunk of money may be spent and the mobile app does not meet the needs of the client’s target market.

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Perry Hoekstra

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