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How Long Does it Take to Develop an App?

  • Rating — 5 (4 voices)
  • by Elena
  • Updated on July 24, 2019
  • Read —
    5-6 minutes
how long does it take to develop an app

This question is the second popular request after “How much does it cost to make an app?”.

As you might guess, the precise answer to this question does not exist. Nevertheless, we are going to outline the general phases of app development to make it easier to understand from which “modules” the timeline of dev process is composed of.

The rough estimation for building an avarage app before its ready for release is about 3-4 month. Meaning 3-4 month is an average time to develop an app itself, not including specifications, designs and testing.

In this article, we are going to showcase the typical situations that can reduce the time frames of app development or, vice versa, stretch them into eternity.

  1. How many features do you need?
  2. Do you need specifications?
  3. Launching an MVP
  4. How to set the timeline?

Don’t add new features on the go

The most frequent mistake clients make during software development process is that they are trying to enhance the product when the coding is already started.

Usually, while the team is working on the project, the client has lots of time to browse the internet, search new information about similar projects or peek new, marvelous competitors. That’s exactly the moment when they realize that the product lacks some “very important” features that need to be added right away. And one more feature. And just a small one… You better stop doin that.

Here are two reasons why you should never add features on the go:

  1. Every new feature means adding more development hours and additional budget.
  2. Launch as soon as possible otherwise, people would not need your product anymore.

P.S. Over 7 years of constant development we had lots of time to browse and get to know the technological landscape. We won’t miss a vital thing, if that’s your concern.

Therefore, the first possible answer on “How long does it take to make an app?” question is – depending on the number of features and their complexity.

how long does it take to code an app

Write specifications for the project

If you don’t want the development process to turn endless and unreasonably expensive, start the project with writing specifications.

A software requirements specification is a description of an end-product that is going to be developed. This is a document describing both functional and non-functional requirements and use-cases of users’ interactions with the software.

We in GBKSOFT always create the specification document as it outlines the features of a future app and the scope of work that needs to be done. Moreover, we make the cost and time estimation of the project based on this document.

If a software company offers you the development services without creating specifications you will never know for sure the precise cost and deadlines of the project.

Launch an MVP first

One of the secrets of a successful product launch is making it at the right time. If your potential customers have any so-called pains, you should hurry to create a solution to satisfy their needs unless you want your competitor to make it first.

But don’t try to create the ideal product. Spending time to polish every single detail and adding multiple features, your customers would not need your product anymore, no matter how ideal it is.

Instead of trying to solve all the problems your clients don’t even have, focus on the core elements of your app and make them the best they can be.

Set yourself a strict deadline and you will see that you don’t need a lot of additional stuff. Outline the most critical issues you want to solve and put them in MVP version. Collect feedback and add only those features, that your audience really needs.

The less core features your app has at the very beginning, the less time you need to spend on its development.

how long does it take to make an app

Set the realistic timeline

What is needed to make an app as soon as possible and not to screw it up? Strategy and the realistic development timeline. When you have detailed plan in front of your eyes, it’s much easier to understand how much time would be spent on each stage.

Here are the main stages of launching a mobile or website app with our team:

  1. Idea analysis and research.
  2. Prototyping, creating a product roadmap. At this stage, we define the main features and technologies of the future app.
  3. Design. Starting with wireframes and creating a logo, we design the user-friendly interface and test it.
  4. Development. The magic moment of programming your future app.
  5. Testing. We check every single detail, API and provide the acceptance testing to ensure that an app works as it should.
  6. App submission to App Store or Google Play. We guide our client on each step of the registration process.
  7. Maintenance and updates. This is the additional/ on-demand service if you wish to bring new colors into your app.

Passing all the stages and having your app available on App Store and Google Play is one of the happiest moments for our clients.

But don’t forget that launching your app is not the happy end – it’s only the beginning of the story. Marketing an app, maintaining it and releasing new versions are the daily routine of every app owner.

Concluding Note

Still wondering how long does it take to make an app? The best approach to outline the precise timing is to do all the upfront work before developing an app. Wise dev teams spend about one or two months on planning, writing specs and designs to make sure an app will be ready for a set period of time.

But not only preparations are the key to success. Apps bring best results when launched at the right time. If your customers have the problem you are going to solve, don’t waste your time on adding millions of useless features trying to make your app a perfect one. Concentrate on the key features and add new ones in the following versions. Developing the first version of an app usually takes about 4-6 months so don’t delay the launch. Good that comes too late is good as nothing.

Have an idea worth sharing with the world? Don’t hesitate! Get the team of experts to make it real!

Elena is the business analyst passionate about everything connected with startups, business ideas, and analytics. She’s aiming to find the solution for every challenge, young companies meet on their way.


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