Category Archive: Mobile Apps

Managing to Minimum Viable Product – MVP

One of the keys to successful mobile, web and cloud application development is understanding, managing, developing and deploying a minimum viable product or MVP.  In the software industry we understand the importance of MVP.  Getting a product in the hand of users is critical. We often say “There is nothing better than user feedback to make a better product!” However if your in the business of developing mobile and cloud applications you customer may not understand MVP. Your customer needs to understand MVP.  It’s your job to not only educate them but also to guide them to MVP.

To ensure everyone is on the same page MVP is the absolute bare minimum application that you can develop that will have an immediate impact for your customer while breeding foundational success for future versions of the application.

Working with hundreds of customers over the years defining and adhering to MVP has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve encountered managing the development of mobile and cloud application solutions. The reason, the customer ultimately wants the big picture application – they want the app to be in the cloud, integrated with accounting and back-end databases, provide key business intelligence, empower field users, streamline the process for our customers, etc..  Separating the big picture app from MVP requires discipline on the part of the customer and the development team.

Yes, we need to understand the long term vision of the application. But your job is to work with your customer to identify, design and manage to MVP.  When I work with customers I always ask them to outline the big picture – highlighting the business problems and customer use cases they are trying to solve. Once I have that understanding I then work with them to define MVP.  Remember the customer is not buying software, use cases and agile methodology, they are buying the capability to do something or do it better. They may have thought through this but in my experience most have not. I always ask “What problem are you trying to solve? What are the set of core capabilities that have to be in the first version to solve this problem?”

This can be challenging. I like to illustrate it this way.

Zenware - Developing to MVP MVP_Cartoon

Ideally we all want the high speed, multi-user vehicle appealing to the broadest audience possible. However, starting with the skateboard version of the application provides capabilities that solve an immediate problem, fit an isolated market or address a problem within a company division.  While not the dreamed of solution MVP provides core capabilities that solve an immediate problem and create a positive impact. The benefit of introducing the MVP is that once the application is the hand of the users you begin an invaluable feedback process that helps more finely tune versions 2, 3 and 4 of your application.  Managing to MVP ensures a proper and natural evolution of the software. You will discover that each version of the application will have it’s own MVP criteria providing additional capabilities that will appeal to a broader group of users.

Continually reigning in customer and development team expectations to the core components of the MVP is key to your application deployment success. MVP has to be the focus of every discussion, every strategy session, every architecture design meeting and after every application testing scenario. If you don’t customer expectations tend to bleed into future versions and the project is delayed and customers get frustrated.

I’ve learned that documentation is critical to delivering MVP.  Document the big picture application as well as the MVP. Think of it as your blueprint that focuses on the immediate build requirements, that can stand alone, but shows future build requirements that you need to consider. Your application blueprint will protect the short term goal of MVP while planning for the bigger solution.

This became very evident in a recent project our team completed for one of our automotive customers. Our customer had a vision for MVP but had difficulty mentally separating MVP from the enterprise solution that was the ultimate goal.  Every time we met they would say “this is great but what about these features?” Totally disregarding what had been accomplished and moving towards the bigger picture. Fortunately we had not only documented MVP and the bigger picture application, we had prioritized the feature list of each.  Because of our documentation we were able to demonstrate that we were on track and their requests were bleeding outside of the approved MVP capabilities they had helped defined and prioritize. Defining and documenting the customer MVP not only kept the project on track it also kept expectations in check.

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Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software SolutionsJody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick
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Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch now RoadFS, and ZWarehouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mobile Tech Expo 2015 – Day One: Education Day

Mobile Tech Expo 2015 kicked off to huge crowds attending Educational Day. The line-up of training events was extensive for this year’s attendees.

I made time to attend 3 of the training sessions. Here is a snippet.

Renny Doyle - Mobile Tech Expo 2015 - Auto Recon & Detailing Pro

Renny Doyle, Detailing Success – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Renny Doyle – Detailing Success and Detailing Mafia “What Does Your Business Success Look Like”

I’ve learned Renny’s seminars are a MUST see. As usual he brought his great humor, wisdom and years of experience to share his insight on what success in business truly looks like.

Here are a few nuggets:

  1. “Build your life while your building your business”
  2. “Being rich is having money. Being wealthy is having time.”
  3. “High expectations with no money? Build it! It is possible!”
  4. “Tenacity wins!”
  5. “Don’t think big. Think specialized.”
  6. “Techpreneur – you gotta be a technician and craftsman but more important you have to be a good business man and entrepreneur”
  7. “Build depth in your business”
  8. “One Ferrari is Viagra on 4 wheels” :)
  9. “Knowledge or skills? Both!”
  10. “Be the GURU in your village”
Jason Rose, Meguiar's Mobile Tech Expo

Jason Rose, Meguiar’s – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Jason Rose, Meguiar’s – “Carpet and Upholstery Stain Removal”

Jason not only shared his experience in carpet and upholstery care but brought valuable insight and strategies into how to best specific types of stains. He packed the house and had a VERY engaged audience. I saw a lot of note taking as he shared tips, tricks and techniques. A few tips shared:

  1. “Coffee is the number one stain” – SURPRISE!
  2. “Extraction tools work best when you go slow”
  3. “A dry brush and a vacuum cover most of your carpet issues”

If you’d like more training points from Jason check out “Carpet And Upholstery Stain Removal With Jason Rose At Meguiar’s

Shane Jacks, PDR College - Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Shane Jacks, PDR College – Mobile Tech Expo 2015

Shane Jacks, PDR College – “Blending And The Skill That’s Needed”

I think the picture says it all. This training was not just packed it was standing room only and extended into the hall. Impossible to get into this one. If he could’ve blasted his presentation into the hall there would’ve been some happy attendees. I overheard one guy in the hall say “That is the most important training of the show. They should’ve put it in a larger room.” If got stuck in the hall and looking for more great training and business tips from Shane you’ll want to check out the PDR College hosted by Shane Jacks and Keith Cosentino http://www.pdrcollege.com/

Looking forward to the next couple of days attending a few more seminars and presenting RoadFS to attendees. If you’re attending Mobile Tech Expo 2015 we’d love to see you.

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Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software SolutionsJody Sedrick, CEO
Follow me on Twitter: @jodysedrick and @zenwareinc
LinkedIn Profile: Jodysedrick
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Zenware Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch now RoadFS, and ZWarehouse

 

The Modern Day “App” Gold Rush

mobile app developmentWhile talking with two boys who are getting ready to enter their junior year of High School, I was astounded to hear what they are planning to do with their futures. Instead of discussing what colleges they wanted to apply to, what careers they preferred to enter, or what sports activities they were preparing for this year, they shared with me their plans on having a mobile app built that will generate millions of downloads and make them both wealthy for life.

I began asking them questions to get them to think more logically: Do either of you know how to write software or design mobile apps? Are you planning on taking software development courses in high school or college? Are you aware of the average number of downloads for any given app offered by the App Store or Google Play? Do you know the average amount of revenue an app generates? Their answer for all of these questions was, “No.”

Their plan was that they would come up with the idea and then have someone else develop the app for them. They didn’t take into account the cost to the development team to write their app, the cost associated with marketing the app, or the fees that are required to be paid to Apple (if using the App Store) from each download. Basically, they had heard the one-in-a-million story of apps like Flappy Bird and wanted to do the same thing.

I explained to them that, as a software development company, we have people every year come in and talk to us about building a mobile app that is going to make them extremely wealthy. Our obligation as a company is to ask them questions to help them think more objectively about their endeavors. Who is your target user? Are there other apps that already do what yours will do? If so, how many downloads has the other app received? Will yours be a free app with hopes of receiving advertising revenue, or will you charge each user for your app? How much will you charge?

Over and over again, we hear the statement, “Oh . . . I hadn’t thought about that.”

Don’t get me wrong – there are opportunities within the mobile app market to make good money, but people need to be aware of what it takes to actually get to that point. People also need to be aware of what they can expect in terms of downloads and revenue for their ideas. According to an article written by Tristan Louis on Forbes.com, the average revenue generated per app on Google is $1125, on Microsoft is $625, and on Apple is $4000. That’s total revenue per app. Even if you developed five apps on the App Store, that’s still only $20K in revenue. I hardly think anyone can retire on $20,000 dollars – especially a high schooler!

Tristan Louis points out that everyone with a mobile app idea and every software developer hopes to create “the next big hit but, as is the case for any hit-driven market, a large group will be left behind with little to show for their efforts. At the end of the day, the model for mobile apps is no different than any other of the past: whether it is gold in the Yukon, websites in the 1990s, or app developers today . . .” Learn the facts, look at the numbers, think objectively, and consult with the experts. And, if you still think your app idea will work, then you can work to make it a success. But until

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then, don’t think you will get-rich-quick with a mobile app idea. Especially, don’t base you future on it!

Zenware - Mobile, Cloud, Web, SaaS and Software Solutions~~~~~~~~~~
Ben Ellsworth
ZTEAM – Sales Ninja
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Zenware, Inc. is a Boise Idaho based company that specializes In custom mobile software development, custom iOS development, custom Android development, iPad software development, iPhone software development, custom web development, web hosting and SaaS based work order management software. We also have a powerful line up of off-the-shelf mobile cloud solutions; ZenTouch, and ZWarehouse