A fortnight remains from the start of the Story Time Monsoon Camp – and it’s all ‘make the last-ditch preparations and send along the invites’ time for us at Teknowledge. But hey, that does not mean you need to miss out on our weekly bit of chitchat, about mobile app development…and, well, all other things tech. In today’s edition of AppBoard Tuesday (it’s already the 11th edition), we will be discussing the need for maintaining milestones during any mobile application development project. We follow this work-pattern at Teknowledge, and it’s basically something any other company in the same line of business should follow:
- Milestones keep work processes systematic – A recent infographic, published by Kinvey, showed that the average time required for building an iOS/Android app is 18 weeks. This entire period would, of course, be divided into different stages (say, concept development, wireframe-making, prototype development, mobile app testing, etc.). If you are not maintaining milestones, it’s more than likely that confusions will crop up over time. The human brain is not meant to memorize everything!
- Milestones facilitate effective teamwork – Let alone only app development companies – at any professional organization, productive teamwork is what’s required for success. At Teknowledge Software, we maintain milestones so that each developer working on a new app stays updated about the progress that has been made on the project. That, in turn, makes query-resolution easy, and also fosters division of responsibilities (for instance, a UI/UX designer can start working only after (s)he finds out that the app-screens are ready).
- Milestones help in client interaction – If you do not have a rough idea about milestones, providing app quotes (even if they are free) would be pure guesswork. Chances would be high that you will make promises that won’t be possible to live up to – which would put a frown on your client’s face and give your mobile apps company a bad name. Once someone gets in touch with us, we find out the type of app (s)he wants, and frame milestones accordingly. That way, we can provide realistic deadlines.
- Milestones are great for cost-management – Make no mistake – in most cases, the overall mobile app development costs are not particularly low. The onus lies on companies to ensure that the total expenses figure do not exceed the amount specified in the app quote. At every stage, milestones help in keeping a tab on the cost figures, and plugging the channels of unnecessary expenditure. To put it another way, by maintaining milestones you can abide by the budgetary preferences of customers.
- Milestones make the overall payment scheme more transparent – Our company has this policy of asking for only 30% of the total estimated costs upfront, with another 30% being payable midway through the project, and the rest when the app is completed and delivered. Now, what does a generic term like ‘midway’ mean? That’s something we determine on the basis of the number of milestones achieved, and the number that remains to be attained. If your company takes payments in multiple installments (which is the most common way), you need to SHOW how much of the work has been completed at any stage, before asking for a pre-specified percentage of your fees. Milestones build the trust-factor between app companies and clients.
- Milestones make fault-rectification easier – Errors happen, oversights are not uncommon, a line of code might go missing – when mobile app developers are working on a project. In a haphazard work framework, looking for a small mistake can be a thoroughly frustrating, time-consuming task. Provided that you are recording every milestone, you can quickly zero in on the stages where the error might have happened – and rectify it. Even the best app development companies make mistakes – the thing that makes them stand out is that, they are quick to fix them.
- Milestones are helpful if work is being transferred – At Teknowledge, attrition rates are very low, so we do not really get this benefit (we don’t want this one, anyway!). However, at any standard mobile software company, it might well happen that a coder/designer/developer leaves, or is transferred to another project/branch. The person(s) taking his/her place has to spend days studying what the earlier guy had done, before continuing with the job. If there is an updated logbook of milestones to refer to, the new person can start working almost immediately.
- Milestones give a boost to accountability of developers – This works at two levels. Firstly, while reporting to seniors (well, I ask for work-updates from my employees from time to time, and am sure most other bosses out there do the same), it is absolutely essential for a developer to show a detailed report to his/her boss. It’s basically the same when you are delivering a work-progress report to clients. Bosses love objectivity, customers hate lots of technical jargon – and milestones are the common solution.
- Milestones bring to light the unique nature of every app project – One iPhone app differs from another, no two Android applications are exactly the same – and if your company is into cross-platform mobile app development, the discrepancies between two projects become all the more prominent. Milestones are instrumental in providing a logical explanation for why one app can be developed in, say, 6 weeks, while another takes nearly 6 months. For customized service providers, this proves to be really handy.
- Milestones are great for training – Most software and mobile companies rely on on-the-job training for new recruits, and milestones play an integral part in that. Right from the brainstorming and conceptualization stages, to app testing and submission at iTunes/Google Store – the entire process can be broken up into small blocks, and explained thoroughly to newbies. Consider this: which one would be easier for a student – learning an entire book at once, or going through short, in-depth modules?
- Milestones lends focus to app development activities – Now, every developer worth his/her salt would know that a mobile app has to be developed within a certain deadline. That, however, does not give him/her an immediate sense of urgency (and not every good app developer are workaholics!). Milestones serve as flags that have to reached within a relatively short span of time. As soon as one milestone is attained, the focus is automatically turned on the next one.
- Milestones ensure high quality of service – At Teknowledge, we have software analysts checking the quality of work being done by developers at every stage. This practically does away with the chance of someone attaining a milestone in a hurried/casual manner – compromising on the quality aspect. Only when everything is tested to be up to the mark, clearance is given to move on to the next stage. Imagine what a mess a quality analyst would be in, if (s)he had to check an entire project from scratch!
To put it in a nutshell, milestones make sure that work-hours are being optimally utilized at any company. There is the additional psychological factor of being able to complete a milestone while developing an app, before moving on to the next one. A good mobile company invariably adopts systematic operational procedures, and framing/maintenance of milestones are absolutely key for that.
And that, folks, is about all in this edition of AppBoard Tuesday (as a footnote, publication of our weekly newsletter is also milestone for us!). We do hope that ABT is being of some help to all of you out there, in some way or the other. It would be great to hear your suggestions, comments, or even counter-arguments.
By the way, do you have a kid in the 5-12 age group (your own, among your relatives, maybe someone from the neighborhood) – on whose face you want to put a smile? If yes, just give us a ring at 9433193640/9433138173 and/or visit www.storytimeforkids.info to register for our ‘Story Time Monsoon Camp. We promise it would be great fun.
Till next week then, take care, stay good…and of course, remain zapped with apps!
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