Chapter 4: Managing the App Project

Once you have hired your programmer, you are ready to sit back and relax, right? Well, not exactly.If you want the project to stay on track in terms of schedule and in terms of getting the app you want, then you have to stay involved. This includes regular communication with the app developer (or developers) you have selected to discuss and review their progress.The quicker problems and misunderstandings are identified and corrected, the easier and cheaper they can be corrected.

As with other aspects of the app development journey, the more complex the app, the more effort you will need to put in to managing the project’s development. No matter how simple or complex your project, management on your part will be necessary.

Sharing and Reviewing Designs

While some basic design information was shared during the proposal process, it was just enough to allow developers to work up a proposal. Now that a programmer has been selected, it is time to share the entire app design you created in the concept design phase. (Is this a good time to bring up a reminder about having developers sign a non-disclosure agreement?)

Ask the developer to review the design materials closely prior to meeting with them. This meeting should be in person if possible. If not, a phone or by Skype meeting to discuss your design plan in-depth is acceptable. If you have selected the right developer they will have questions you need to answer to help fill in any gaps in information. They may possibly even have valuable suggestions.

Be wary if the developer seems difficult to schedule or seems uninterested in discussing details, doesn’t ask questions, or otherwise doesn’t participate in the reviews and discussions in a meaningful way. This is a warning sign that you may have hired the wrong developer. It happens. Some developers are strong with sales, but weak on delivery. If you don’t feel quite right about the situation you don’t necessarily need to fire the programmer, but it may require you to monitor the progress closely and make sure the developer is qualified and stays on task. When you see signs such as a lack of engagement with the project, don’t be hesitant to make additional inquires or push for specific results by specific deadlines. Give the developer a chance to demonstrate their skills and commitment to the project. However, if they demonstrate the opposite of what you want in the project, the earlier you cut your losses and move on the better off you will be. Additionally, you may want to be looking at your options for an alternate programmer if he/she doesn’t work out after all.

Additionally, be sure to stick up for your concept and your vision for the app. You may encounter a developer who wants to rework your app into something completely different. Sometimes this is due to their personality (some people think they know best). Sometimes it may be due to a poor work ethic on their part (they want to get the project done in the easiest and fastest way possible even if it means sacrificing your goals). You naturally want to be open-minded and listen to good ideas and suggestions, but don’t be pushed into doing things you don’t want to do.

I had a good time working with Space-O. They impressed me initially with the interface designs and followed through with constant communication and robust programming. Would work with Space-O again. If I could hope for anything more, it would be to have the project completed sooner. Thanks again!Matthew Bell
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