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Five Common Challenges That Will Sink Your App Development Project


Caitlin Cleveland

Custom app development can get complicated, fast. Business needs and use cases must be taken into account, and technologies change rapidly. When projects enter stormy seas, they can often be steered back to safety, but not without costing time and money. The first step to preventing these challenges is awareness, so today I’m outlining five common trends that can sink your app development project.

Not Being Prepared to Set Sail

Before we start development on your app with you, we’ll first help you identify a list of prerequisites. Do you have pre-existing designs for your app? Grab ‘em. Is there a specific API that will need to be used? Send over the documentation. Is every team member on your company’s side available to start?

With this information in hand before kickoff, we avoid stalls and costly guesses around important information. So make sure you take the time to collect and provide the necessary info and resources for your team before weighing anchor.

Expecting the Ship to Sail Itself

A ship, and your app development project, will not guide itself. We’re experts in app development and design, but in order to deliver the best app possible, we need your input as an expert on your business.

We work with our clients very closely throughout the entire development process, ensuring that the app we’re building supports the business’ and users’ needs. In order to be successful, you’ll need to give your project dedicated attention and focus, providing not only a high-level vision at the start of your project, but also your sustained direction and input as we work to develop your app together. Often this means weekly and daily interaction. If you won’t be able to dedicate this level of time and focus, it is vitally important that you dedicate someone on your team who does have time, and that you empower that person to make decisions.

Not Trusting Your Crew

As in any project, you need to trust the people working on it, especially when there are so many moving parts. We want you to feel confident in us: our processes, the quality of our work, and the project’s progress. By investing the time needed for communication with your Big Nerd Ranch team, asking questions and engaging in setting expectations on both sides, your project will move forward more steadily. We’ll understand what you need from us, and you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that we can maintain our course and momentum.

Prescribing Without Describing

Big Nerd Ranch hires amazingly brilliant, talented people, so you’re guaranteed to have a team of experts to consult with on your app’s development. Don’t squander your team’s expertise and skill by prescribing what you believe is a solution to your problem, and asking them to implement it. Instead, describe your problem to us (whether it’s a business need, or a technical issue) and let us help you come up with the best solution. That’s what we’re great at, and what you’re paying us to do!

Not having a “North Star”

You need to have a clear and guiding business model and use cases. The number one thing that sinks app development projects is when the product owner (that’s you or your dedicated person—see my second point) doesn’t have an intimate understanding of the need your app will meet, or who your users are.

A thorough understanding of how your app will be used serves as a North Star that we’ll refer to as decisions come up during development, in order to make sure we are spending time and effort wisely.

Anchors Aweigh

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you’ll be well on your way to smooth voyage and a successfully developed app. Want to learn more? Check out how we’ve helped our clients meet their business needs.


Caitlin Cleveland

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