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Mobile App Collaboration: 5 Tips for Working with Your Developer

Working with a developer can be difficult. They get excited about all the cool things they can include in your app, and you get overwhelmed by all the choices and costs that come along with them. The result? You end up spending more money than you planned and time passes — meaning execution isn’t as quick and efficient as it should be.

You’re not alone: I’ve been on both sides of this fence myself (first as a business owner looking to build an app for my company, More Than Sound, again as Director of Marketing at Tinicum). But when working with mobile developers is done right, magic happens! Here are some tips I’ve learned from years in the mobile industry that will help you work better with your developer, avoid hidden costs, and stay within budget.

1. Collaborate with your developer from the beginning

The earlier you start working together, the better. As an mobile game app development company suggests, If you’re a business owner, check out a few developers before picking one to work with. It may take a bit of time and research—but the end result will be worth it! You’ll find that some developers are great at communicating complex ideas in an easy-to-understand way, while others excel at building clean code but struggle when it comes to user experience. Pick someone who does both well — because even though you don’t need an expert coder for your small business or startup app, technical knowledge can make or break your project.

In addition to finding someone who speaks your language, you should find a developer who’s excited about your idea. If they don’t ask many questions or come up with lots of suggestions, it may be a sign that they’re not invested in your project. That said, if they bombard you with ideas and features before you’ve had time to finalize your strategy, red flags should go up.
Handing over an app design (even rough sketches) is also helpful for developers because it saves them precious time on mockups. Visualizing how the user will navigate through the app can help everyone avoid confusion down the road.

2. Have realistic deadlines

Of course fast turnarounds are important when it comes to building an app—and there are times when this is essential (such as during a promotional push). However, it’s important for all parties involved to set clear goals and expectations early on so that everyone knows what is realistic.

A good developer with the right resources will be able to build a simple app in 10 weeks or less. If your app includes advanced features or requires more time-consuming aspects (such as lots of animations), this timeline will probably increase. Lack of knowledge about what it takes to develop an app can cause problems for both parties down the line when issues arise.

3. Clearly define scope & budget when starting out

No one likes surprises, especially not when they cost you money! This is why it’s imperative to clearly outline every detail in your project, from feature requests to posting milestones. Use this to create a task list and cost budget. With this information, you’ll be able to get an idea of how much an app will cost before you get started.

Some other things worth considering:

How many screens will your app have?

What features do you need in the MVP (minimum viable product) version? How much work is required for scaling & updating once it’s live?

How much time should be devoted to QA testing? Will your developer handle this for you or should your team take care of this internally? If so, when can they dedicate time from their schedule for testing?

Who owns the design files when the project is finished? Can I use them for future if I retain ownership rights?

If you need help coming up with your own questions, check out this helpful list of what to consider when starting a project.

4. Don’t expect miracles

It’s important to remember that no matter how experienced the developer is, there are times when they can’t foresee bugs that come up or solve issues themselves. While most developers want to please their clients and do everything they can to see the project through, there are limits to what they can do without sacrificing quality work. So when something goes wrong—and it will!—be prepared for it beforehand.

All in all, building an app takes time and patience. Everyone involved should be respectful about deadlines and expectations from the beginning so that everyone knows exactly what kind of problems could arise.

5. Trust your developer to make decisions

With almost any project, there are always situations where both parties involved will have different opinions about what the right (or better) choice is. While it’s important that you’re able to express your thoughts and concerns, it’s up to the developer to decide whether or not to accept them into the final product. Remember: they know their craft best. If something doesn’t seem like it would work well with the app (and hasn’t been tested), chances are good that it won’t work.

So before suggesting ideas or sending over edits, keep this in mind. Not only will this help avoid conflict but also result in a smoother collaboration overall!

With some careful planning and consideration you can create a better relationship that will result in a better product. Here are five ways to build your partnership and get more out of each project! These tactics can be applied to just about any project you work on.

1. Be clear about your needs and limitations before hiring a developer
2. Clearly define scope & budget when starting out
4. Don’t expect miracles
5. Trust your developer to make decisions

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