Although all apps look alike in terms of running on multiple platforms, there is a significant difference in the scale of apps, their use cases etc. The scale of an app broadly defines the development time and the cost involved, whereas the specific features involved further define the timeline.
Following is a brief description of what are the factors involved in App development and how they affect project duration and cost
Scale of the app
One common app misconception in beginners is – a specific feature, say, push notification, will always take similar time in development and hence, should always be provided at fixed time and cost.
The difference arises from the scale of the app. There are broadly three scales for mobile apps
1. Personal / Hobby Apps
These are apps made for personal / group use and mostly involves a personal idea which you want to share. Examples are – My Travel Diary, My Joke Book, Personal Birthday Calendar etc. These are the most recent ones
These apps are limited to very small number of people. The advantage is, these apps can be made in a super agile manner i.e. app can be developed as quick as possible and provided to end user. End-users then provide feedback, which drives modification and repeat. This way, the requirements of end-users are fulfilled by their own testing.
Even if these apps involve a server and back-end code, everything is (and is supposed to be) minimally maintained, because if any problem arises, that will remain limited in that group of people. The problem can be quickly identified and resolved.
All these features of personal apps reduce the development time and cost drastically because
2. Intermediate level apps
These are apps which have a larger scale than personal apps, few hundreds to few thousand users. These are mostly made for small businesses, startups or even for new growing ideas. The biggest difference from personal app is that the user group is not defined. e.g. A quiz app made for school kids. Although you know the demographics and their requirement, you don’t exactly know what devices they have, what kind of internet connection they have etc. These apps are mostly free on app stores (or very small price), but intended to gain lot of users. Plus these app do have competitors.
In this case, most app requirements are defined before starting. The pre-release development of the app mostly goes in agile manner, same way as personal apps. The difference comes in during-release and post-release scenarios. The app requires thorough testing and post-release maintenance dependent on user’s feedback.
The differences form personal apps are
For these reasons, intermediate apps take 2-3 times the development time and cost, compared to a personal app.
3. Enterprise level apps
Note: These are not ‘Enterprise’ apps, these are ‘Enterprise Level’ apps. In other words, a big Enterprise can also have a personal app, or an intermediate app.
Enterprise level apps are the ones where your whole business model stands on the app e.g. Twitter, Tinder etc. The user number goes from few thousands to even millions. There is a huge competition when you are aiming that big, plus user retention is a huge issue.
Enterprise level apps generally have
For these reasons, enterprise level apps take 2-3 times the development time and cost, compared to an intermediate app.