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How Long Does it Take to Develop an App?

What is the Cost Of Building An App In Record Time?

Building an app is a meticulous process that requires a high concentration of financial and technical resources. For every business interested in developing a market-viable app or website, they need to pay top dollar and hire the best specialists.

But how much does it cost to make an app by yourself without any experience?

Nowadays, technological advancements in app development have eliminated some of the high costs of creating an app. Today, a development team can create an app using open-source frameworks with extended libraries. 

Moreover, technologies like SaaS and progressive web apps also reduce the amount of effort needed to create native apps. And the current no-code technology allows you to build your app in record time.

Therefore, this article will focus on building an app without blowing your budget. You will also find out how long the development process will take.

Key Stages of The App Development Process

App development takes place in various unskippable stages, depending on the target audience and product scope. You need to start with an idea and develop it into a valuable product — an app or a website. 

At the same time, the intricate stages must follow a systematic plan to ensure that the process goes smoothly.

So, let’s look at the essential component stages of app development:

1. Research stage

Every company can establish a team to generate unique ideas or improve on existing projects. But regardless of your preferred path, your business needs to research the market to gather useful insights. 

First of all, you need to find out the amount of interest in the product and its market potential. Then, gather information about the target audience. 

  • What problems will the app solve?
  • What is the potential user demographic?

Besides, competitor analysis is essential to the research stage. Getting a clearer understanding of the competition’s strengths and weaknesses sheds more light on potential business opportunities.

2. Brief-creation stage

After completing the research, analyze the information to generate a brief. Startups and small businesses use these briefs to summarize the ideas for potential investors. 

At the same time, large companies use briefs to create a detailed exploration and description of the app idea and its financial capabilities.

Most briefs contain a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), highlighting the initial app prototype and basic functionalities. 

By the way, an all-encompassing MVP is also a useful addition to the marketing campaign.

3. App Scope

App scope describes the range of devices and platforms that will support the finished product. With the help of the MVP, you can narrow down the size of the project to specifics. 

Focus on the most lucrative platforms for your app — Android, iOS, or both. Choose the most relevant screen sizes and specify the features you need to add to the app or website.

4. Design stage

Since you have specified the platform and devices that will support your app, then initiate the design stage.

UI/UX design platforms like Figma and Sketch provide already-made templates to hasten the design process. Project every screen and user interaction using prototyping tools.

5. Development stage

Designers should always work in tandem with developers to eliminate redundancies. Most times, designers add features that are non-feasible and time-consuming. But an experienced developer can spot these bottlenecks in time and eliminate them from the app design.

Another critical aspect of the development stage is the choice of framework and programming language. 

Open-source frameworks like React Native and Flutter are useful for cross-platform app development. You can also use ReactJS for your SaaS development projects. Besides, you can eliminate all the unnecessary technical hassle by employing a no-code platform.

In essence, an experienced project manager decides the best option based on the team’s expertise.

6. Testing and Deployment stage

Nobody wants to use a glitchy app. 

In a bid to meet deadlines, companies half-ass the testing stage. And as a result, the resulting app will have so many glitches and performance problems due to ‘lingering’ bugs.

Therefore, always submit the app for beta-testing and QA before release. And once the results meet expectations, you can deploy the app to the corresponding platform for download.

7. Post-deployment stage

Deployment does not end the app’s life cycle. You still need to provide patches and constant updates to the software. Besides, a customer support team should be on standby to solve technical issues and answer users’ questions.

What is the estimated cost of building an app?

The cost of building an app varies depending on multiple features and variables. On the surface level, you can create a progressive web application without spending over 1000 USD. Apps built with no-code frameworks even cost less due to the simple architecture. 

However, a multi-layered project with years of planning and numerous features might cost up to one million dollars to develop. 

Just imagine how much it cost to develop software for NASA.

But how long does it take to create an app in the modern tech world?

Let’s bring our thoughts back to earth. A business can determine the entire project’s cost by developing an MVP and scaling it by a few factors. 

Here are some of the critical factors that determine the cost of creating an app:

  1. The cost of hiring specialists (designers, developers, testers, marketers, etc.)
  2. The cost of marketing
  3. The number of functionalities to integrate
  4. The development framework

How long does it take to build an app?

Just like the cost of building an app varies, the timeline of app development is also hard to pinpoint. But the more the number of stages, the longer the project. 

At the same time, other organizational factors and human competence affect the overall speed of app development. 

Let’s divide the timelines into three stages to estimate the length of the standard production cycle. 

1. Pre-development stage

In a well-functioning organization, the process of research and budget approval takes from 2 to 6 weeks. Afterward, the design team starts working on the app prototypes. This process often takes 10 to 14 days (2 weeks) depending on the core features and workflow organization.

2. Development stage

Based on logic, it will take one developer longer to finish a project than a team of specialists. Nevertheless, a highly-skilled developer can complete the work by trimming off unnecessary steps in the development cycle using no-code alternatives.
With that in mind, the development of a standard PWA or native app takes around 4 to 10 weeks.

3. Post-development stage

Top-level testers can analyze the app’s architecture within a few days. So, the estimated ETA for complete testing, debugging, and deployment is two weeks.

Therefore, the standard development timeline for an app with limited core features is between 10 to 20 weeks.

In that case, how long does it take to code a website within the same circumstances?

Websites are often less technically-demanding than applications. So, you can complete a fully-operational eCommerce website within half of the time it takes to create a standard app — 5 to 10 weeks at most.

What slows down the app development process?

Application development is never a smooth-sailing operation, regardless of the industry and company. Every startup will always run into financial, organizational, and administrative roadblocks. 

However, pre-empting these hurdles prepares you to face them when they appear. So, let’s examine the factors that slow down the app development process.

  • Indecisive management
Projects can only go ahead with approval from upper management. Sometimes, creative differences and bureaucracy affect the speed of realization of a particular project. 
  • Workflow organization
A poorly-curated workflow can disrupt the app development timeline significantly. So, every company should hire product and project managers to curate the tasks and monitor team performance.
  • Team expertise
The experience of the team working on the project also plays a significant role in determining the overall completion time of the project. If the team of developers is inexperienced, they will clog up the workflow with backlogs. But you can fix this problem by hiring the right specialists and training them on new technologies.
  • Creative bottlenecks
When teams or individuals reach a creative impasse, this affects the timeline of a product. Older developers prefer traditional platforms and frameworks, while younger progressive programmers choose no-code tools. Once these creative differences arise, the project manager should choose the most suitable option. And in this case, no-code tools take the win!
  • Mid-project changes
The initial app idea always evolves alongside the project. The client might want to include an extra feature mid-project. And as a result, the team has to reimagine and redesign the task to meet the new adjustments.
  • Financial hurdles
Unprecedented events can derail the development plans. For example, the COVID pandemic forced some companies to revise their financial objectives. In these situations, the project might get delayed or scrapped altogether.

Final words

Building an app is a demanding project that involves careful planning and execution. You need to focus on the financial and administrative aspects of the project. Divide the development cycle into stages and fix specific objectives at the end of each cycle.

Also, always research the app’s target audience to find out their interests. Competitor analysis will also give you a better insight into the reasonable budget for the project. Besides, you can also estimate the cost and timeline of the app development process.

Don’t forget to choose a no-code platform to reduce the cost of development. Ultimately, we are here to offer solutions to any questions you have!