April 14, 2015
Enola Labs

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

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When you approach an app company to discuss your web or mobile app development options, they will often break their engagement process into a few different phases. Usually, these phases include some variation of discovery, design, development and deployment.

Although most companies have their own process that will vary slightly, the goal of a discovery phase is to define the project from a business and design perspective, identify project risks & dependencies and elaborate on the scope of the solution all for the purpose of delivering a rock-solid product. Depending on the project, discovery phases can last anywhere from 1-4 weeks and typically require 40-400 hours.

A few key elements most app development companies will focus on in the discovery process:

  • Collaborative meetings to define overall project eg. business objectives, goals, user research, competition, risks, assumptions, dependencies, etc.
  • Definition of a product backlog, user stories, and product release roadmap.
  • Technical investigations to identify major project dependencies eg API’s.
  • Design planning: review existing artifacts, product vision, goals, scope, wireframing, comps, create a fully functional HTML prototype, etc.
  • Explore technical unknowns and determine a solution
  • Identify the stakeholders and contributors
  • Create a delivery team, plan, schedule, architecture plan and scope.
  • Begin the project interaction and visual design
  • Produce artifacts that will reduce risk in the Delivery Phase.

Of course, variation also exists based on individual needs. Oftentimes these core phases tend to blend depending on project specifics and timelines. App development companies with experienced architects and project managers will have the ability to determine exactly how project plans should be designed based on their experience with similar projects and your specific needs.

To learn more about early stage strategies for your mobile app, Enola Lab’s app development checklist white paper is available for download here.