Finding success in custom web application development can be difficult. What works for some may not work for others. What worked for the last client may not work for the next one. Every project is different and must be approached in its own way.
That said, custom web application development isn’t a complete shot in the dark. There are some best practices that custom web application development agencies can engage in that will translate into success. To help define some of these best practices, we’ve put together a few custom web application development do’s and don’ts.
DO: Have Transparency in the Process
Custom web application development is a highly specialized and complex process. The reason that many companies bring in a custom web application development agency in the first place is that they do not have the level of skill or understanding needed to complete the project themselves. That’s also why transparency between the agency and the client is so important when developing custom web applications.
According to this Liventus guide, Agile development is one of the ways to improve transparency in a custom web application development project. This methodology provides for more interactions, both with groups and individuals, than other methodologies such as Waterfall. This, along with more documentation of the development leads to a more transparent process overall, which in turn can lead to a better product and success for all.
DON’T: Move Forward Without Defining Budget and Timeline
The main goal of any custom web application development is to create a great tool that helps a business operate better and grow. If an agency thinks this is the only metric that matters, though, they are missing a few big pieces of the puzzle. Delivering the project on-time and at or under budget is also what the agency will be judged on in the end.
Defining the budget and timeline is a critical piece of the planning process. Doing this will set expectations and allow both sides of the project to get on the same page when it comes to time and money. This should be a team effort. The client should be clear about what they want in regards to time and money, and the agency needs to give the client a realistic assessment of what they can do in what timeframe and for what dollar amount. Skipping this step can lead to confusion and mismatched expectations which will hurt the project.
DO: Offer Custom Solutions
As mentioned above, no two projects are alike. What works for some will not work for others. Yes, having to reinvent the wheel every time out can be difficult and, at times frustrating, but a good custom web application development agency knows that offering one-size-fits-all solutions isn’t beneficial for anyone.
A truly customized solution means that the agency will take the time to understand the client’s business. They will listen to their challenges and their goals and help them develop a web app that fits into these goals and fulfills their needs. Custom solutions will do more of what the client needs and help ensure that they are happier with the final product than they would be with a cookie-cutter app.
DON’T: Be Rigid in Your Processes
Just because you’ve defined the timeline and budget and come up with an idea for a custom solution that works for the client doesn’t mean that is exactly what you need to deliver. It’s called the custom web application development “process” for a reason. The project is a journey and there will be curves and detours along the way. Custom web application development agencies need to be flexible to deliver not what the client says they want at the beginning but what they need in the end.
Flexibility is another great benefit of Agile development. Compared to other methodologies that involve a long, step-by-step process, Agile focuses on short bursts called sprints. After each sprint, the stakeholders can touch base again and reassess where they are with the project. If something isn’t working or the ideas change for some reason, a flexible agency will be the one that is able to deliver a great final product.
DO: Make Security a Top Priority
The unfortunate reality of 2021 is that custom web application development projects no longer just serve the client. They must also protect them from cybercriminals who may look to gain access to the app. Coming off a year where cybercriminals ran wild, security must be a top priority of every project that developers undertake.
Security must be the first thing that an agency considers when it starts a project and the last thing it double-checks. No one knows exactly what the next threat will be, so web apps must be built with the latest security practices and have the ability to be modified down the road to respond to whatever comes in the future.
DON’T: Stop After the App is Delivered
This is exactly how you don’t want a custom web application development agency to treat a project. When the final product is turned over and the final bill is paid, that shouldn’t be the last time a client and an agency work together. The best agencies will be true partners who value the relationship and the future of both businesses.
After the app is delivered, there is still support, troubleshooting, upgrades, and more. And, if a custom web app succeeds, the client should be able to leverage that app to grow. That growth is something that a good custom web application development should be able to help the client manage and, eventually, help grow even further.
Custom web application development success takes many forms. And there are best practices that an agency can use to help ensure more success on more products. These agencies should always remember to embrace transparency, create custom solutions, be flexible, and value security. At the same time, they also should work with a defined timeline and budget, vary their past practices, and continue a relationship with the client after app delivery.