The strategy behind the regular app update
#app, #development, #update
20 November 2019
Julianna Sykutera

The strategy behind the regular app update

When thinking about app development, the two most important aspects are maintenance and support of the product. It takes some time before founders find the one exceptional business model. Meanwhile, the app has to be constantly developed through regular updates. Only when supported through subsequent iterations, the app has a chance to survive on the market. But what’s the strategy behind the regular app update?

Listen to your older friends 

Most successful companies (the owners of most popular apps) have project management methodologies and experience which is a huge leap forward from what was at the beginning. Through their development in the market, they understood that the regular and very frequent app updates provide the best results. Let’s take an example of a Pinterest app that is updated every three weeks or Facebook where the update is released almost weekly. One can say that everything depends on the amount of money and developers you have. But honestly, it is not about the resources but about the way you manage them. It is the moment when the Agile methodology of software development shows its benefits and has a chance to shine. 

Smaller & bigger updates

There are minor improvements such as bug fixing and the major changes, for instance, adding a new feature or making a completely new version of an app (different interface and/or functionalities). It’s obvious that the minor changes will take less time while working on a new feature may last up to even 2 months. The development team plan on what they would focus next based on the level of priority of each task and its importance. However, fixing a problem that causes users’ irritation is more important than introducing a new feature that may not be approved by the majority. Smaller updates can sometimes change a lot in terms of user experience and fix something that determines the interest in the product. Oh, and the last thing. In an Agile team where developers and testers work together, the boundaries between different versions of the app can wash out. That’s why no matter what your update contains you should have clear rules for numbering the versions of your app. 

What about features that are too big to be developed in two weeks?

You should divide them into chunks. Give yourself two weeks to introduce all the elements to the app and while doing that, keep the feature invisible for users. This way you won’t lose the “WOW” effect on a day of release. Also, you would be able to pivot swiftly if there would be a need to change the direction. You should know that apps currently considered the best in the market took more time to be maintained than to be built in the first place. Moreover, keep in mind the amount of time which has left for competing with other companies. With each delay, your market is getting smaller and smaller. That’s why even if you want to rearrange the whole thing, change UX or make a new version of UI, you have to keep the pace and constantly deliver. 

Once again, plan the app update

The most important thing is planning work to finish on time. BuzzFeed plans the strategy for about three months in advance. This way they have the flexibility to respond to possible changes that occur on the market. It is simply a backlog of a product. It shows that there are things which you can’t predict and having some time reserve can be helpful then. Of course, there are exceptions when it is impossible to release a new feature that was planned. However, it shouldn’t stop you from releasing the app update. Even if it would only contain some bug fixes. The developers are aware that a smaller release won’t resolve all of the problems at once. However, they know what should be done next to not lose the right track.

The key to success is… 

The audience. The number of people who are using your app because it helps them and they enjoy it. So the better we are at designing and building the app, the higher are the users’ expectations. That’s why we should reach their standards and build them the best environment we can. Only through such actions, we would be able to create a loyal group of customers who want to pay us for what we deliver. Want to know more about app updates? Read this.

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