4 Valuable Phases in the Mobile App Development Process

Whether you have a small to medium-sized business, if you’re thinking of building a mobile app, you’re on the right track, and here’s why: Almost half of small businesses (42%) already have a mobile app and yet another 30% have a mobile app in the works (Clutch).

With so many businesses making apps, however, it should come as no surprise that only 0.01% of mobile apps succeed (Vayz). While it’s up to you to identify the right target audience and market your app, it’s on your mobile app developer to ensure that the technology is up to par and was built within app store guidelines. In this way, it’s critical to hire a developer that can provide you with a quality product.

To ensure that you find a mobile app developer that takes an organized approach to app development, you’ll need to know a bit about what goes on behind-the-scenes. While there are no hard and fast rules about how to approach building a mobile app, a developer’s process should generally include four development phases:

  1. Project Estimation

  2. Preparation

  3. Development

  4. Finalization

If your potential mobile app developer doesn’t include these phases in their processes, you may not receive the app you were envisioning. Still not sure what all of this means? That’s okay. To ensure that your potential mobile app developer is cut out for your project, let’s discuss the 4 key phases of mobile app development process in greater detail.

1. Project Estimation: The Beginnings of Your App

The first phase of the mobile app development process should be pretty straight forward. This is the time when you should discuss the details of your project with your mobile app developer, or project manager (if the team has one). It’s also your opportunity get to know more about your developer’s capabilities and their prior work.

Person Working on Planning Their Mobile App By Taking Notes

After outlining what you generally expect your app to look like, your developer should provide an estimate for your project. This estimate is not set-in-stone, but it should offer you a pretty good idea of what your project will cost—you should also discuss if they offer hourly or fixed bid contracts.

Key Consideration: Just as you would like your developer to be honest with you, remember to be honest with your developer about your budget. That way, they can offer you realistic recommendations for what you can achieve.

2. Preparation: Getting Ready to Dive In

With your contract type selected and project estimate provided, it’s time to plan the architecture, a detailed plan for what your app will look like. This is a critical stage, as the architecture your developer creates w how they will carry out the remainder of the development process.

When you’ve agreed upon the proposed architecture, your developer should then provide you with a Statement of Work, a written document that outlines the project specifics.

Person Using Apple Magic Mouse to Browse on an iMac

With your Statement of Work in hand, your developer will need to prepare the workspaces for your project. While there are several staging environments a developer may use, the two most common are: 1) the development environment—where the app is built and 2) the production environment—where you can view your app.

Once the architecture and workspaces are complete, your developer will need to create and distribute schedules. These schedules will guide when your developer completes what and when. That way, you will always be in the loop on what’s happening with your project.

Key Consideration: If your potential developer doesn’t create schedules, this is a major red flag. Schedules are necessary to keep your developer on track and to keep you informed.

3. Development: Building the Dream

With preparation complete, it’s time for your developer to dive into development. There are two separate steps within this process that occur simultaneously: 1) design and 2) development.

Woman Browsing on Mobile Phone

To execute the design, your developer may need to draw up sketches and create wireframes. If nothing else, your developer should present mockups of your mobile app. Other than that, your developer will begin development by writing code.

Key Consideration: During this time, your developer may not have a lot to show for his work, as a majority of the development process occurs in the back-end. However, they should be providing you with regular updates on designated dates, per the schedule they provided.

4. Finalization: Making the Dream a Reality

Even when the app is generally complete, your developer still has some work to do. Before sending your app off to the app store, it’s important that your developer begin the testing phase. This should include testing of the app’s code to the user experience it provides.

iPad on Top of Laptop Keyboard

Once the app passes those tests, it’s time to submit it to the app stores and make it go live. Once the app store makes your app available for the public to use, a majority of your developer’s work is complete.

Key Consideration: Especially if you do not have a web developer or IT team on hand, ask your developer if they can provide maintenance into the future, as it will need updates and bug fixes.


Not every mobile app developer will follow these phases to the T. However, these phases should give you a general sense of what an organized mobile app development process should look like.

Mobile app developers that fail to follow several of these steps, such as providing a detailed Statement of Work or creating and distributing schedules, can greatly reduce the potential success of your project. Without written documentation of what to expect from your developer, for instance, there’s no way to ensure you’ll receive the app you were promised.

Rather than searching far and wide for a developer with great processes, consider working with us. At ClikGlobal, we bring together U.S. project managers, U.S. senior developers, and offshore developers to offer affordable software development, and our proven process plays a pivotal role in providing you with a quality product.

To learn more about our rates and prior work, visit our Upwork profile today.