10 lessons learned from a decade of building apps: Lesson 8 - Know your limits

5th December 2019
10 lessons learned from a decade of building apps: Lesson 8 - Know your limits

I play a lot of tennis, and I like to think I’m pretty good.

I play for a team and I often win. But I also know that if I come up against Roger Federer, I’ll probably get my ass whooped and end up embarrassing myself.

Likewise, I’m sensible enough to know that being (half) decent at tennis, doesn’t mean I can play other competitive sports. Which is why I gave up on football. If you want to be successful in any endeavour, it’s important that you have a good handle on your strengths but also your limitations, and nowhere is this more important than in the world of app development.

When developing an app, it’s really important that you don’t just dive straight in, in the hope that you’ll ‘figure it out on the way’.

You might have some cursory knowledge of app development and some web development experience that you think is transferable, but without scoping out the project fully, you could end up in a mess, very quickly.

An expert for everything

However deep your technical knowledge, if you’ve never developed an app before, or even if you’ve had some experience in app development, you’ll likely come up against issues that are beyond your current capabilities.

And while you may be able to overcome these difficulties with time (and costly redevelopment) your project timeline will be destroyed and your project deadline will have long passed before your app gets to the marketplace.

This is why it’s so important to scope out the job fully at the start as it enables you to prepare fully within your project plan.

Look into the aims of the project and the development required to achieve those aims and see where skills required are not currently present within the team.

Once you’ve identified where you are likely to need additional knowledge, you can then either get training for your developers, especially where the skill required is close to that already present within the team, or, hire in the experts to do the development for you. The later being the simplest and probably the more cost effective option.

Managing Expectations

Scoping the project fully and having foresight of your limitations, also enables you to manage expectations in terms of the functionality of the finished product, and the time taken to develop.

If you just dive right in and get to work without looking far enough ahead, you can very quickly encounter delays and will almost certainly have to go back and redevelop parts of the app. If you know what’s coming, and what you need to do, you can make an informed judgement on the amount of time it will take to complete the development.

Talking to an expert app development company, like AtomicMedia will help you get a sound understanding of the requirements of the project.

How to recognise your limits

It can be difficult to recognise your limitations because, particularly in the world of app design, there are a lot of things to consider.

A runner, for example, will know how good they are from the time it takes them to complete a certain distance. It is measurable and irrefutable. For me, as a tennis player, it’s less clear cut.

I can beat one person one week but lose to the same person the following week. I have to stand back and take an objective look at my form and technique and work out what needs to improve. Developing an app is the same.

Testing of a completed app will give you measurable stats, while user acceptance testing will provide you with a subjective but trackable measure of how successful it is. But ultimately, the question you need to be asking throughout is ‘Would I pay for this work? ’.

If you were a client and you had commissioned the work, would you be happy to pay for it? If not, you may need to hire a company whose work you, yourself, would be happy to pay for.

We’ve produced hundreds of apps over the 11 years since we started producing them and one of the key things we’ve learned is how to identify the scale and ambition of a project and how that fits within our own skill set.

Our clients have also learned how to recognise their own limitations, which is why they frequently depend on us to make their vision a reality. 

If you’d like to discuss an app project with us and see how we can help your business, talk to a member of our team today.