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Establish a Process

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Assemble a cross-functional mobile development team.
  • Identify the best methodology for mobile development.
  • Summarize mobile design best practices.
  • List factors that can affect your organization’s mobile development plan.

Plan Your Route

You set the destination for your journey, and you’re confident that your compass is pointing toward that destination. But when there are numerous potential paths, how exactly can you make your way to that specific point on the map? You plan a route!

After creating a mobile strategy, you have to execute it. So let’s make sure your organization has considered the people, processes, tools, and technologies that are necessary for delivering the cool mobile solutions you’ve dreamed up. In this unit, we move on to the next component of mobile strategy: design and development.

An illustration of the mobile design and development process

Assemble a Cross-Functional Team

To paraphrase an old proverb, it takes a village to develop a mobile app. And by that we mean your organization needs a cross-functional project team with members who are responsible for different parts of the development process. Here’s a blueprint for a project team:

Team Member What They Do
Product owner Manages the strategic requirements for the app and decides which features to include in each release
Project lead Coordinates the team’s efforts and keeps everyone on track to meet project deadlines
UX expert Performs the research and design necessary to provide a good experience for mobile users
IT lead Makes decisions about the overall technology implementation and development plan
Developer Creates the mobile application
Quality assurance expert Tests the application and tracks software bugs

Depending on the size of your company, your team can be smaller or larger than the one we’ve outlined here. But those are the areas of expertise that should be represented.

Follow Best Practices for Mobile Design

Have you ever downloaded an app, gotten frustrated by a poor user experience, and then ditched the app for a better one? If so, then you know design can have a big impact on the success of a mobile project.

If you want users to love your app, be sure to invest in mobile design and bake it into the development process. Here we give you a very brief overview of the three main elements of user experience: research, design, and testing.

The three elements of mobile user experience

Research

Do some research for each app your organization wants to develop. Who are the target users? What tasks do they want to accomplish? Which tasks do they perform most often? By answering these kinds of questions, your team can come up with a handful of common use cases. Then the team can deliver the features that users actually need. For more information about how to perform the right research, see the UX Research Basics module.

Design

Designing for mobile devices is completely different than designing for the desktop. It’s critical that your development team includes a designer with a solid understanding of mobile design principles and guidelines.

Usability Testing

During the design and development process, your project team makes certain assumptions about users and how they’ll interact with the app. The only way to validate those assumptions is through testing—and the earlier the better. It’s important to obtain feedback so the team can tweak the design of the app, if necessary. Check out the UX Prototyping Basics module for how to test a prototype before you spend resources on building a finished app.

Tip

Tip

If you want to learn more about mobile user experience, be sure to visit the resource section for some helpful links.

Create a Development Plan

It’s no surprise that there are numerous development factors to consider when building mobile apps. If your organization doesn’t have a plan in place before the development process begins, you can be in for a bumpy ride.

Implementing the necessary processes, infrastructure, and tools required to build mobile apps is a complex, strategic undertaking. And of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. But here are some of the high-level questions your IT leaders need to answer:

  • Evaluate your infrastructure: Do you have infrastructure for building APIs and web services to support mobile development? Will you integrate back-end systems into your mobile apps? Are there data silos or legacy systems that make integration challenging?
  • Assess your mobile expertise: Do you have in-house mobile developers? Are there enough developers to support your mobile initiatives? If your organization has no internal mobile expertise, what’s the budget for hiring external consultants, vendors, or agencies?
  • Consider your technology options: Will you build apps using HTML, native iOS or Android programming languages, or a hybrid of both? Which mobile operating systems will you support? Which mobile application development platform will you use?
  • Think about security: Have you established minimum standards for data security? Does your industry require you to comply with certain regulations that will affect your mobile projects? If you’re building internal apps, how will you manage and secure your employees’ devices?
  • Maintain your apps: How often will you release app updates? How will you manage the releases? If you hired consultants to build the app, how will you work with them on app enhancements?

Structuring your organization to develop and deliver mobile apps isn’t something you should expect to get right the first time around. You’ll evolve your development plan as you gain more experience with mobility.

Embrace Agile Processes

With the right people, tools, and technologies in place, it’s time to talk about process. What methodology will your team follow to ensure that your mobile project is delivered on time, meets users’ needs, and satisfies business requirements?

Even if you haven’t been directly involved in any software projects, you’ve probably heard the phrase agile development. Well, “agile” is just an umbrella term for a few different software development methodologies that are all founded on the same basic principles: short development cycles, frequent software releases, and incremental and continuous improvement.

An illustration of the cyclical nature of agile development

Agile processes are an especially good fit for mobile application projects. Here are a few reasons why it’s beneficial for your project team to be agile:

  • Rapidly changing user needs, behaviors, and expectations
  • Constantly evolving business objectives
  • Fast-paced nature of the mobile market
  • Frequent mobile OS updates and upgrades
  • Ability to confidently experiment with new tools and frameworks
  • Short life span of mobile apps
  • Opportunity to apply lessons learned from previous releases

For more information about agile methodologies, see the links in the resource section.

OK! Now you have a basic understanding of what it takes to execute a mobile strategy. And wow—it’s no small feat, is it? Luckily, we can help. If you partner with Salesforce during the execution phase of your journey, you’ll have the tools you need to execute your mobile strategy (and do it quickly). In the next unit, you learn how our customer success platform can accelerate your path to mobile transformation.

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