Software development houses must keep an eye on costs and revenue, not just apps in development, to stay in the black. Charging enough for app development, especially apps with an ongoing product development program, ensures company profitability for the long-term.
Given the extended development time for certain apps, software development companies must look at projects on a case-by-case basis to determine their viability. This must be viewed against both the capabilities of the development team and what they’re currently handling, to avoid taking on projects that don’t make sense for the company.
Using Agile Development to Deal with Multiple Projects Successfully
To develop different types of software and mobile apps on behalf of clients, it’s useful to adopt the Agile development process. This allows for a fixed term iterative approach where specific new features and/or bug fixes are completed within a certain period. Being iterative, software should be developed in stages with minor, incremental releases rather than longer ones to ensure each cycle is short. This approach also avoids the deadly curse of software development – scope creep.
Managing multiple app development projects in the same team becomes possible with Agile development cycles due to the closed-end nature of each Agile project cycle. Often, this is combined with Scrum, another project management approach, with a “Scrum Master” handling the sprint (a fixed period workflow approach) used in both Scrum and Agile development projects.
Planning Out Profitability Carefully
For software development, it’s likely that the work runs through one major version release and several iterative minor releases over a period of time.
When developing for outside clients and not an in-house project, then a schedule of fees will need to be created that properly reflects the time that the team will be putting into the project. While app owners will want to make money by selling the app online, the software development house must ensure they can produce it profitably. Using a profit margin calculator will be helpful when putting together the pricing policy for clients.
Dealing with Scope Creep
Young companies must stay nimble with software development for clients. It’s very easy for scope creep to rear its ugly head with clients demanding more than was agreed to. New features might be squeezed into an iterative release but sometimes the decision has to be made to push the new feature to a major release to come at a later time.
Managing clients’ expectations is important to avoid needing to invest extra development resources to add features in a hurry. This is usually where bugs get into the software, which can cause end-user and client complaints, along with extra development time to resolve. The managers of the development team must find a balance between pleasing the client and risking the integrity of the app with clients pushing for new features while still expecting to meet a previously planned release date.
Running a profitable software development business requires a strong hand and an iron will. Balancing these requirements with excellent development and fiscal control on the financial side completes the picture.