Warning Signs Your App Development Is Headed For Trouble

man yelling at phone

App development is a new field for many businesses and entrepreneurs, and the process can be complicated with the wrong developer. Clients need to understand their project inside out and backwards. Sometimes along the way there are warning signs that the app development is going off the rails, and often times clients and developers alike ignore these red flags until it it too late, and the project ends in disaster.  

Here is a list of warning signs your app development is headed for trouble. This list looks at everything from the hiring process to the client’s role in the development process. We hope these warnings will give you peace of mind during your development, or help you get out of a bad situation if you recognize any of these red flags!

Is your developer a ‘Yes Man’?

One of the biggest signs you are dealing with someone with little knowledge about app development is when they agree to everything you want. While it might feel good to you at the start, app developers with experience will know the limitations of their skills, as well as the industry’s requirements. Of course you don’t want to be arguing with your app developer all the time, but if you get no push back at all, this could be a warning sign. Questions and concerns from your developer show true commitment and a desire to truly understand your project.

Is your developer an established business?

Many freelance developers can talk the talk, but when it comes down to the app design, development, and follow through, they can’t deliver. It’s tempting to hire a freelancer because they are more budget-friendly, but what you may not realize is you are likely paying them to learn the ropes. One person alone is very unlikely to be skilled in all aspects of app development which include design, coding, analytics, project management, content writing… the list goes on and on. Hiring a full team at an established business gives you a range of people and skills all contributing to your project.

Can the client make a decision?

The client needs to have a clear vision of what they want, down to the finest detail. Without this, the project is destined to go over budget. If the client is a group of people, all the parties need to be on the same page for all aspects of the app. These internal discussions should be done on the client’s own time, so they are not paying to hash things out during development meetings. Internal conflict is a huge warning sign, as it will drag a project on for eternity, and increase costs and time expectations drastically.

Does your developer have references?

If you ask your developer for references they should be able to provide you with a document detailing past/current projects with the ability for you to contact a few customers. No references is a huge warning sign.

Does your developer have published apps?

Ask for a list of published apps, or actually take the time to explore their portfolio. Download these apps. Test them out. Do you like the look and feel of them? If your developer has no published apps to review you may be in for trouble.

How detailed is your quote?

A huge red flag is a developer who gives you a cost and time quote without knowing the full scope of the project. How many modules or pages does your app require? What features are important to you, and what does the design look like? Your quote should include every aspect of your app, or it won’t be correct! No matter how experienced the app developer is they can not give you an accurate quote without knowing your vision for every aspect of your mobile app.

Does your developer outsource design?

If a company doesn’t do app design in house, but rather outsources this part of the development process, get your spidey senses going. This is a warning sign that your app development may be headed for trouble because the amount of control the company has over the project is limited.

Does the client constantly change their mind?

Planning and developing one thing and then asking for something new is a big red flag that your project is headed for trouble. Often during the development process clients will start looking at other apps as a comparison, and then want a feature that app has. The issue with this is your quote will be based on the information your developer had at the time of your project. Once work has started on one thing, asking for something new could mean your developer needs to start from scratch. This is fine if you weigh out the hit you will take for cost and time setbacks, but if you are on a tight timeline and budget, these kinds of changes could lead to serious trouble.

If you feel like you are getting the runaround from your developer, and any of these red flags ring true, there are options. You can move your project over to another developer, or you can hire someone to look at your project and consult with your current developer. Don’t feel like you have to stay in a bad situation when you are unhappy and not getting the results you want.