How to Use a Mobile Project Checklist for Better Project Management

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Artem Petrov

09 Mar 2017 - 7 min read

A mobile project checklist helps to guide your mobile product development. Yes, the mobile development agency you hire is responsible for bringing all of the technical and design details to fruition. Even so, your feedback and instructions will be needed at several points of the development process. This brings us to the matter of a mobile project checklist – because your app is only ready when you say it is.

What Is and Why Bother with a Mobile Project Checklist?

Planes are complicated machines.  Pilots use preflight checklists to avoid tragic mishaps.  Mobile apps are complex products.  Experienced developers employ checklists for quality control and because a mobile app is an investment.  It is your investment and you want to avoid costly mishaps, too.

Your role is a lot like the air traffic controller for its test flight.  You say when the app is ready for take-off and when it can land.  A project checklist kind of serves like your radar, making it easy to track progress by itemizing:

  • What needs to be done?
  • Who will do it?
  • When is it due?
  • Who will approve it?

Checklists enforce discipline and accountability, promote teamwork and communication.  It is due diligence being applied at every step in your app’s development.   If something isn’t done right or on time, it will be caught and questions will be asked.  The process of following a checklist inherently results in a higher quality product… and fewer crashes.

Where Do You Get Your Mobile Project Checklist?

Remember your app cost estimate?  If you complete our App Strategy Workshop the estimate we provide you defines everything that will go into your app and a timeline for major development milestones.   It includes all of the screens (the wireframe) and modules (login screen, app store, navigation, store, newsfeed, payment system, etc.) your app will need.  These are the items you approved and so these should be the items to include in your checklist.

For each item on your checklist, an experienced agency or developer also has a more detailed checklist. Would you like more details about what is involved in creating your app from the developer’s side?  If so, your project manager will be happy to fill you in.

Project Management

When hiring a mobile app development agency, you can’t really expect them to have your same level of industry expertise.  If they did, they’d probably not be in mobile product development. Certainly, agencies with experience in your industry provide extra value.  Leastwise, most software for business functions work the same way or involve the same development processes regardless of industry.  Your industry expertise and your developer’s technical expertise combine to create something no one else has – an innovative app for your industry and market.

You will need to designate someone from your business to be your project coordinator.  Their role is to track progress and provide timely feedback, guidance, and decisions on the work of the agency you’ve hired.   This could be the business owner, a manager or a specialist – preferably someone intimately involved either with your business or what your app needs to accomplish from your business and industry perspective.

When hired, agencies will appoint a project manager for your mobile app.  In turn, this person will assign each task to members of their team.  The project manager knows who has worked and will work on each component of your app.  They see the big picture and where each part needs to be at a given time in order to make your timeline.  The project manager is the one person always available to answer any questions about how your app is coming along, from start to finish.

There are occasions that may involve having more than one agency working on your app, perhaps a developer and a designer.  It will be up to you to define the protocol – whether one should be the lead project manager or interact with you separately.

Project Checklists, Meetings, and Teamwork

The actual development of your app often proceeds in stages. One part may only begin after another has finished.  Quite often, each part may have different people working on it.  Most meetings will correlate closely to your mobile project checklist and timeline projections.

During these meetings, the developer, project manager, and coordinator examine and verify each portion of the app as complete or as needing further work.

In many cases, your mobile agency will limit further work until your coordinator approves what has been done.  It is in everyone’s interests to identify problems at each development stage before moving onto the next.

Correcting the problem earlier usually means a lot less work.  Experienced developers and project managers will almost always catch and correct any problems before they reach your coordinator.  Nevertheless, your project coordinator need not be shy in pointing out corrections.

There will be occasions where your coordinator may wish to speak with and question the actual developer or designer tasked to a specific component of your app.  This is entirely welcome, but it is best to give the project manager notice so this can be planned to fit everyone’s schedule.  Developers and designers may or may not be exclusively assigned to a given project.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

That’s the polite way of saying it.  Investing in a mobile app carries the same, potentially much greater weight, than opening up a new storefront.  A mobile product development agency will do almost all of your design and development.  That comes from the information, ideas and statistics you provided in getting a cost estimate.

Still, your participation and oversight must continue throughout the whole development of your app. Make sure that you get what you want when you wanted it.  That means following along with your project checklist.  Be there to provide feedback and ask questions as needed.  An app that fully fulfills and performs to your expectations adds value to the whole of your business.

It’s not just a matter of catching problems early on, either. You may come up with a new feature or function.  Do you want to include it in the first version of its release?  That will add to its cost and timeline. The pros and cons of doing so can be discussed.

The earlier these types of things come up, the better. You don’t want to be in a position of having the app essentially complete and say, “Oh, we really have to add this feature and then…”

It’s the “and then’s” that can really hurt a project before it even gets out of the gate. They can throw the project off schedule for not being included in the initial timeline projections provided to you.

Continued Product Development

Additional features and functions can always be added in later updates.

Once the app for your business is completed, it moves into a new phase. How do you make it better? How can you make it even more profitable for your business?  Following your app’s debut, you will be accumulating lots of user data and feedback.  What are the additional functions your customers ask to have?

UI and UX directly impact at least 14 revenue-related mobile app performance metrics. Continued development and improvement across several metrics has a compounding, multiplicative effect on ROI.  Reinvently’s customized Continuous Product Development packages make improving the performance of your mobile app simple. We perform everything for you.

If a feature was overlooked during the painstaking process leading up to and culminating in the app cost estimate; odds are it is not essential to its function.  It may not be needed or even be desired by your customers.  That’s one reason why we do strongly recommend starting with a Minimum Viable Product.

Maximize the feedback and data you can get from customers on your most important features.  That, in fact, should be a continuous process across all business activities – especially as relates to your mobile app.  It is this information that provides you the means to evaluate how additional functions will benefit your ROI.

The header image is by Sebastiaan ter Burg.

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