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How long does it take to develop an app?

Knowing when your app will be in front of your target audience is one of the most important considerations. Also, it’s one of the most frequently asked question asked by our clients. So, we decided to write about it. This guide will help you in understanding who determines the timelines, factors that affect them, and the estimates for development of different app categories. It will give you a good idea regarding how long does it take to develop an app.

Who determines the timeline?

The timeline and costs are pretty much dependent upon scope and scale of the work.

It’s the task of a solution architect to determine the exact number of hours needed by the developers and designers to get the work done. Such estimations are based on the experience of the company and also the individual in charge.

The solution architect will break down the projects into different modules and then allocate resources accordingly. He/she will also figure out the number of modules that can be built in parallel, how to bring all the elements together, and what are the major bottlenecks.

To get the most out of resources and to build the project in the minimum time is pretty much dependent upon the solution architecture and the genius of the team involved. Consider a case where the team is occupied with some other project, and the work that can be done in parallel is now being done sequentially. Such situations will add to the delay of the project. Costs might remain the same, as the man-hours will remain the same, but the timelines will get stretched.

So, it becomes crucial to work with experienced teams with good system architects and project managers.

Scale and scope of the project trump all the factors that impact the timeline of development. But few other factors impact the timelines of the projects.

– Are you bringing any assets? OR Liabilities?

There might be a situation where you are bringing in some form of initial work. The initial work could be the design, prototype, wireframes, incomplete developed version of the apps. In this case, the new team will take time to understand the nature of work that is usable for not.

A caution! Most of the coders, once they find that the coding isn’t reusable and doesn’t follow the best practices for development, would not take on the project. They would insist on starting the work from scratch or taking a good time in fixing the issues (if fixable).

The asset that you bring to the table could be a massive liability for your project and timelines. So, do discuss before starting the development work.

– Which platforms are you targeting?

Are you planning to launch your idea with only web support and add Apps later; OR do you want to launch the product with all platforms? Such questions can extend or reduce the timelines drastically. So, you should have a clear product roadmap to get a better picture of timelines.

Always Remember! If you are starting to build a new idea from scratch, it’s better to build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). READ MORE.

– Testing and deployment

You should keep in consideration the testing and debugging of your MVP as the development doesn’t end with the launch and. It’s crucial that you allocate time to test your product and fix all the reported bugs.

– The process — Design, Develop, Deploy.

Please note that the app development is not simply just coding. There are many phases involved and knowing about each one will give you a good idea of the development time. We did an article where we highlighted our development process in detail. Each app developed goes through the phases of discovery, wire-framing, system designing, mock-ups, coding, and deployment.

More time spent during the initial phases help to avoid any surprises at the end.

Each stage requires different resources and skillsets. So, it’s crucial to know and talk about each stage in detail with your development partner.

Different App Categories and Timelines.

Following are the estimates of the time that each category of the app would need for development. We used this categorization from the earlier posts where we discussed the cost to develop an app. To learn more, please follow the link.

Category Timelines
Simple Functionality Apps — Without much server programming Usually 30-45 days should be enough to develop a simple app.
Complex Apps — Server Programming 4-6 Months. Most of the written stuff on the internet also points out to this timeline (These numbers are from interviews of the developers).
Games 2-8 months. The range is broader as the games fall in many different categories and also with the different scope of work. To know more about costs to develop games, please follow the link.
Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality Apps 3 – 8 Months. As already highlighted in the article, a broad range of apps fall in this category, and also, it’s a new category that is developing nowadays.

A simple app like Retrica might require four months, but complex ones would take up more time.

Summing up:

Stay in beta mode forever!

App development isn’t a one-time process. It should be iterative, and you will have to keep on updating — based upon the user feedback and platform evolutions.

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