In many respects, creating an app is similar to building a house. There is extensive planning and scheduling that goes on before any work can begin. There is a comprehensive design process and a lot of testing done along the way to make sure everything was done correctly. Therefore, even though many processes go into developing a product, exactly how much time would it take to actually make an app? While each project is unique in its own way, we provide you with an approximate timeline of software development, specifying the duration of main phases that companies usually stick to when creating an app from scratch.
1. Requirements and UI/UX Design: 2-4 Weeks
This phase is relatively short and simply involves the decision-maker, usually the CTO or team lead, to meet with the business stakeholders to:
- Agree on all needed requirements and write them down.
- Work out all of the ideas and features that will be included in the app and operate together in the final product.
- Specify your target audience and how they would like the app to look and feel.
- Review the outline of the future development and discuss any last-minute changes you would like to see implemented.
- Set the priorities for the features you would like to build at the outset and which ones can wait for subsequent releases.
Even though we usually get this part of creating an app done in 2-4 weeks, a lot will depend on the client’s availability and his general responsiveness. During this process, many critical decisions need to be made. Many things need to get approved by the client, which could extend the project timeline.
2. Planning, Architecture & Development: 3-6 Months
Planning involves listing all of the tasks in the order of their importance. This will allow you to see which assignments you will be able to complete right away and which ones will have to wait. If we return to the construction analogy mentioned initially, you need to get all of the framing done before you can start hanging the drywall. The same principles apply to software development. An experienced software provider will plan everything out correctly to avoid costly delays down the road.
Once you finish the planning, you can start thinking about the framework. Consider which technologies you want to use and how all of them will work together. If your project involves complex system integration, this part will take longer than creating a standalone product. Depending on the system’s size, that part could take a week to a couple of months to get done. The lion’s share of the software development timeline will actually be spent on writing all of the code for the application. However, suppose you have all of the designing, and technical documentation nailed down. In that case, the entire phase will take somewhere between 3-6 months.
It is important to note that this is the best stage to do this if you need to accelerate the app development time for whatever reason. If you decide to do this, it will come at a cost since you will need to extend the project timeline or hire more developers. Since you are adding new people and resources, this could also slow down the project because a lot of coordination is needed to make sure everybody is on the same page. If the development company is not experienced in such complex project management, this could become a big problem.
3. Testing: 3-6 Weeks
Many different types of tests will need to be done as part of the Quality Assurance process, depending on the size and nature of your project. For example, there is the end–to–end testing where the QA specialists utilize all of the features the same way a user normally would. While testing is usually implemented as part of the app development pipeline, they are all tested individually instead of as a whole. End–to–end QA is comprehensive and will allow the tester to compare the end product with initially planned.
There is also user acceptance testing to examine the product and make it done correctly. Think of it as a final walkthrough of a house that has just been built. Try to be as detail-oriented as possible to find things that the testers might have missed. Keep in mind that if you would like specific types of QA to be done, the service provider will definitely accommodate this request. This includes cross-browser or cross–mobile–device testing, load testing, performance testing, and integration testing. Depending on the complexity and types of quality assurance, this process should be done in 3–6 weeks.
Developing the requirements and creating the UI/UX design
Developing the architecture and coding the frontend and backend
What Aspects Impact on the Timeline of Software Development
While we provided you with an approximate duration and deadlines for each stage of the software development timeline, a lot will depend on your project’s size, complexity, and scope. If your project requires multi-platform support, data migration, or warehousing, this will be a more complex and more extensive project and could add to the development time required, as can be seen below:
- Data migration – Up to 2 weeks
- Multi-platform support – Can take between 3-6 months
- Data warehousing – Can take 6-8 weeks
The project manager will help you manage all of the various tasks and stages of the project and mitigate some of the risks that usually appear when working on large projects. This is one of the most significant benefits of choosing a service provider to create your product.
Find out also the idea of what architecture type you should choose for your project in our Monolith vs Microservices vs Serverless article.