Mobile app development

5 important steps a tech startup should do before searching for a mobile app developer

If you’re a tech startup company that wants to grow its business by building a mobile app, it is natural to approach a mobile app developer to get it done. However, if you accomplish these 5 things in the below sequence before working with the developer, you will save a ton of money and valuable time.

Values can only be one or more of these three.

  1. Save money
  2. Save time
  3. Create better lives

Use the below template to put together a value proposition canvas that lists all the benefits you offer to your users. You can double-check by making a mapping of the values to one or more of the above three.

Here are some examples of a value proposition canvas. Value Proposition Examples: 30 Of The Best Ever Created

This will help you and the developer understand the value you are providing to the users and cover all those values in the application as features, which will go in as epics into step 3.

2. Come up with a Business Model of the startup

Make a business model canvas so that you can figure out the economics of the app.

  1. Who is paying you?
  2. What is your cost?
  3. How profitable your business is going to be?

3. List down the app features

Now that you have determined the value proposition and business model, make a list of all the features of the mobile app you want to create. Make sure that all of the values, and only the values, are converted into features, which may also be called Epic.

An epic is a larger collection of user stories that serve a larger strategic objective, while a user story is a small, self-contained chunk of development work designed to accomplish a specific goal within a product.

A broad brush will suffice at this time. As a result, there is no need to create detailed user stories. Using the below template, write no more than ten Epics that describe the most significant features of the app. This will serve as a high-level need for app development.

4. Draw the Wireframes of the app

A wireframe is a schematic illustration of a page interface that is used to show where content and functional elements should be placed on the page. Wireframes serve as a basis for prototypes and help establish relationships between individual pages. They bridge the gap between low-fidelity sketches and the initial interactive prototypes.

Based on the epics gathered in the previous step, design a user flow for the mobile app’s screens. This will be used in the detailed requirements for the development activities.

You may use some of the collaborative interface design tools like figma.

5. Determine the Color palette of the mobile app

Now that you have the wireframes in place, choose the right color palette based on your initiative for the mobile app UI design. Some of the colors have all-inclusive significance, while others are interpreted in a different way. Because of this, it’s important to think about what each color means to your audience before settling on a specific tone for your mobile app’s interface.

Mobile app development
Here is a Definitive Guide to Choosing the Perfect Mobile App Color Themes and a few trending Color Scheme in Mobile App Design

6. Search for a mobile app developer

Now that you’ve completed all five steps, you’ll have a good idea of what you want t build and will be able to clearly articulate your requirements to the developer.

Building mobile apps can be very expensive and take a long time. Before finalizing the mobile developer make sure the app developer knows How To Build An App Without “Building” An App to learn how to prepare for and build a mobile app for your startups.


CVP: The cornerstone of Startup strategy

Critical Viable Product™ (CVP) is a software development technique to build a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the critical amount of validated learning about the customer with the optimized effort.

Last night my 7 years old daughter asked “Dad, What do you like the most?” after reading her a bedtime story. I said, “I love you the most, Darling”. She hugged me and said “I love you too, Dad” and went on to ask again emphasizing “What do you LIKE the most?”. Wondering the difference she could make out between those two feelings, “I like reading books”, I said. She didn’t stop there. Asked again “Why do you like reading books?”.

My antennas stood up, I wanted to give her an answer that would really make an impact for her lifetime, as those were the very few moments she would ever listen to me with the fullest attention. (Dads out there — You know what I am talking about 😉

“I like reading books as it is the shortest way to learn a lot in a very few days, what the author of that book, learned and experienced for several years”, was my reply. And she asked, “Is it like how I learn from my teacher?” and I acknowledged with an accomplished feeling.

The Context

After getting back to my reading room, I chewed on my instant reply to her. And came the thought of what Eric Ries had to say about Minimum Viable Product — A Minimum Viable Product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effortThe same goes for reading books, we get a maximum amount of validated learning with very least effort.

Pic. 1 — How to Build a Minimum Viable Product?

By looking at this definition one can obviously understand that validated learning can only come from, by delivering what customers want — and, importantly, easily understand there is a correlation between two parameters, validated learning (the value) and the effort (the cost).

The Problem

Coming from an engineering background, the next question came to my mind was what is the optimal effort needed to spend to get the required critical amount of validated learning. How to quantitively measure the value and cost? What is that sweet spot to call it a minimum viable product?

Pic. 2 — Where is the MVP?

The Approach

By that time, I was sitting on the barstool staring at the second shot of bourbon in front of me. Without any further delay, Vilfredo Pareto came to my help, to fill the missing puzzle in the equation, with his 80–20 rule.

In my experience of building software products for more than 15 startup companies, I was able to quickly reason out that the least valuable first launch of a product should be built at ~20% of the overall budgeted cost (the effort) to collect ~80% of the value (the validated learning about the customers), as depicted in Pic. 3.

Pic. 3 — CVP — an approach to identify the ideal product features to be built so it produces ~80% of the value for ~20% of the cost spent

That prompted me to conclude that the least valuable first launch should follow a Critical Viable Product building approach — a software development technique to build a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the critical amount of validated learning about the customer with the optimized effort.

For example, If you are building a product for Crowd Funding, you might be interested to learn about your customer to understand the geographical area, age, Education and Income group, majority of them belong to and their interests, etc. (probably not, but you get the point). CVP will let you define the product features and build them with only 20% of your budget, but you pretty much get to know about your customer about 80% of what you want to know. So based on those learning, you got 80% of your budget left over to maneuver with, to build the product right for your target customers.

The Solution

Having the approach in hand, how can you find that sweet spot of getting 80% of the value from 20% of the cost?

That can be solved by mashing up the below prioritization techniques and apply it to each of the product features on the product backlog.

Step 1

The first step is to independently evaluate each of the product features by analyzing the value you get out of it and the cost you will have to spend. Upon completion, you should be able to roughly plot something like in Pic. 4.

Step 2

The second step is to apply the lean prioritization technique (Pic. 5), to identify the product features which require only ~20% or less effort which is capable of producing a value of ~80% or above.

  1. Lean Prioritization — Performing Value and Effort analysis for each product features
Pic. 5 — Lean Prioritization of each product feature
Step 3

The third step is to superimpose the below prioritization techniques on top of Lean Prioritization (Pic. 6), so you can evaluate and make adjustments as required.

  1. MoSCoW — Classifying the product features as Must have, Should have, Could have, won’t have
  2. Eisenhower Decision Matrix — A method used to prioritize tasks based on urgency and importance.
Pic. 4 — Evaluate value and cost for each product feature

By performing the above 3 steps and choose to build the — Quick Wins, Must have and Important / Urgent features (the top left of the matrix) — , you should be able to build a complete Critical Viable Product with overall the ~20% optimal effort to get the required ~80% critical amount of validated learning.

This strategy has worked well for 3 of our clients in a row. They were largely successful in taking the CVP to the market to measure the validated learning and create a quantitative value proposition for their investors.