April 06, 2016
Enola Labs

Enola Labs creates custom strategy and products for mobile and web.

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Ensuring app development projects are successful takes meticulous planning and a rock solid process. When utilizing an app development company for your engineering needs, be sure to vet candidates on their development process. While this can vary from team to team, there are a few items to listen for as they describe their approach to development. Below, we’ve selected a few internal activities that we consider critical to ensure app development success.

Backlog Grooming and Release Planning

The project backlog is the list of features that our teams wish to complete for the project or a specific release. The backlog must be prioritized so that the team can understand what the most important features are. It’s also critical during this meeting to define the requirements (acceptance criteria) for each feature so that the team understands what they must accomplish when it comes time for development. It’s also helpful to enter high-level cost estimates so the Product Owner can leverage that information when prioritizing. The estimates can then be used to understand when we may expect the project to be complete.

Sprint Planning Meetings

To ensure the development team is aligned for success, sprint planning meetings are often held before each development sprint. Sprints are time boxed iterations where the development team will create a potentially shippable product by the end of each. During these meetings, developers are assigned features from the top of the project’s feature backlog that they commit to completing by the end of the sprint. These meetings typically last anywhere between 1 and 4 hours and are a critical first step prior to beginning any engineering efforts.

Daily Stand Up Meetings

At the start of each day the development team will briefly (15 minutes or less) meet to align on what work they completed yesterday, what they will complete today, and call out any blockers or risks they know of. This quick meeting will allow team members to report daily happenings to the project manager who can then more efficiently communicate with the client and other internal team members on any project happenings.

Development Sprints

As a baseline, most development companies operate in two week sprints. The importance of a sprint is to layout what each member of the development team is to work on in these two week intervals with the goal of client acceptance during the sprint review meeting.

Sprint Reviews

At the end of each development sprint, app companies will hold a review of the completed work during that Sprint. It is essential that clients attend the review, as it is their role to approve the work that was completed. Once approved, the development team will run through the 2-week process of planning, development and review until all features in the project backlog are accepted and closed.

Sprint Retrospectives

Sprint Retrospectives are internal team meetings held at the end of a sprint to discuss items that are going well, as well as issues that may have recently arisen. It’s an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback that allows the engineering team to refine the process and improve project performance throughout the development phase.

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