Mobile specific data is hard to find but research from 2009 shows an estimated 44% of general software projects were late, over budget, or with less than the required features and functions. Additionally another 24% failed, were canceled prior to completion or delivery, or never used. An estimated 68% failure rate is staggering given the amount of money and resources needed to deliver a successful software application.
How about us? Since 2003 Jam-Mobile has successfully launched over 50 apps, both internally and externally for clients, on multiple platforms including iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, Palm, and Windows Phone 7. This is no small feat given the complexity of mobile software development and the differences between OS’s/devices. Additionally I can count on one hand the number of App Projects that were started and ultimately did not launch.
So why do Mobile App Projects Fail?
Simply put, from my experience, a poorly scoped project (Features, Timing, Cost, etc) will doom development from the beginning. Yes your mobile app project is most likely failing right at the start. Here is the opportunity!
I discuss app projects with clients all the time. I spend a significant amount of time upfront listening to my clients about the features and specifications of their apps. Additionally I ask them about the goals and objectives of the project. I want to make sure, given the technology landscape; their project has the greatest likelihood of success. It does my clients no good to launch an iPhone app when 85% of their users are Corporate Blackberry customers!
Clearly defining your Mobile App scope is critical to success! Will your project have some level of scope creep? Yes, every project does but keeping changes to a minimum helps reduce cost and delays. A good App developer should continually be engaging you with questions and suggestions. Keep in mind a good qualified developer brings unique mobile expertise to the table. I routinely offer suggestions and advice to my clients to make their projects better! This is critical to success and the foundation for a good partnership!