Last week I took you through the ‘things that I did not know about app development, until I developed an app’…and similar to the week before, I got some interesting feedback !
Whenever I get some feedback I spend some time digesting it, after which I’m curious to understand how & why the feedback was given. In several cases, it was interesting to learn that some of my friends and co-workers were interested in developing their own mobile phone apps and had their own concerns on where to start. I put myself in their position (all the way back to week one) and remembered the concerns I had when I started project. Fast forwarded (is that even a word ??), I wrote down a list of concerns that I have now. With that in mind, here a five things that keep me (and probably other app developers) up at night :
Have I done enough testing ?
There’s so many different types of testing that can be done on an application. We’re currently in the middle of testing the integration of The Birthday Genius across multiple platforms – iPhone, iPad, Android and Facebook/Web. Our goal is to make sure that you only input the data once, and then it synchronises across the devices that you already have. One of the complexities is that each minute change requires a whole battery of tests, which from the outset may appear to be extensive, but ultimately are necessary to ensure we have a great functioning product. Whilst I believe the checks (and double checks) that we are doing are exhaustive, I often have the concern of whether the testing I am doing is indeed enough. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression, I don’t want to release a half-baked product.
Action Plan : I’m stopping being a perfectionist and drawing a line in the sand and saying, okay….after this point, we’ve done as much as we can possibly do. We’ve put the app through its paces and replicated how someone would logically use the app. This will allow us to get a functioning and slick product into the app stores sooner rather than later. It leads me directly to…
What do I do if we find bugs after the launch ? (@#$%!#$%!#$%!@#%!)
Action Plan : Simple really – I get off my butt and get them fixed…QUICKLY ! I’d be naive to think that my app is going to be perfect first time around. But….whilst there is an expectation that things are perfect first time, I believe that it is more important to respond and act on feedback as soon as possible. So, whilst it’s normal and potentially expected to have small bugs in your app, I believe our quick responses and improvements (version updates) are what people are going to want to see. That said, if the app has major bugs in it…then you need to re-think your strategy before you launch !
What do I do if someone copies my app ?
It’s all well and good to say ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, but I don’t want other people copying my stuff. Oh holy crapola, what happens if it is Mark Zuckerberg who is the one copying me ?!?!?
Action Plan : Right now, I don’t know of any other apps that have the same function and features as The Birthday Genius. But that doesn’t mean that similar apps won’t copy mine in the future. So what I’m constantly doing is keeping a close eye on the other apps in the marketplace just incase one of them starts doing the same things. Infact, I’m alerted each time one of these apps has a version update, and then I study the apps very closely. Take away point – keep tabs on your competitors.
What do I do if the rules of the game change ?
Right now, The Birthday Genius is built using a set of rules and toolsets (Facebook APIs, Apple & Android SDKs etc) and I am dependent on them. If one of the many toolsets or rules change, this could have some potentially show-stopping effects on the app.
Action Plan : I can’t stop them, however what I am doing is keeping an eye on each of these ‘dependencies’ because each of them have guidelines about how they change their toolsets. For instance, Facebook has a 90-day breaking change policy. So, by keeping up-to-date and continually checking in on these dependencies, I can react much quicker if the rules of the game change.
What happens if I don’t get enough downloads ?
I’ve done the research and I know that there is a need for this app. However people simply are not buying it – why is that ?
Action Plan : Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come… so you might have a great product, but if people don’t know about it then there’s very little value. So what I’m doing is making sure the marketing team are continually promoting and talking about the app. Right now, the app isn’t launched, but we know it is not far away…so what we’re doing is getting people involved and creating interest so that people are aware that it is coming ! Once The Birthday Genius is launched, then it will be a case of continually measuring and monitoring interest & feedback.
To the trained eye, this list is essentially Risk Management 101. You’ll notice that with each of these ‘risks’, there is an action plan if it actually happens. As silly as it sounds, it is this action plan that helps me sleep at night. What I know is that I’m certainly no expert at this and that I’m learning through all of the cuts and bruises and giving this a red hot go. So whilst I may have more gray hair than when I started this, giving it a red hot go is what is making this a whole of lot fun…
Would love to hear your thoughts about what keeps you up at night, whether it is about your day job, your hobbies or your passions….and most importantly, what you’re doing about them so you too can sleep at night.
Cheers, Krish !