Mobile app development & Agile methodology, a symbiotic relationship
Unlike desktop applications, mobile apps face the challenge of getting downloaded, used and discarded at an alarming rate forcing mobile app development companies to look for methods to build functional and relevant apps in short span of time.
Mobile app development teams differ from the traditional web-based software developers as they deal with numerous physical limitations of mobile devices such as screen size, memory limit, varied operating systems, network connectivity, different devices, usability requirement, short life-span of apps etc. Ultimately, developers need to be quick and prepared to deal with all the inconsistencies of app development and deployment.
Although traditional methodologies offer support for the development of desktop applications, the same can’t be said for mobile apps. Agile development methodology fits more naturally to mobile application development because it is driven by inherent need for change and allows the team to quickly respond to technology changes. Today the onus is on app development managers to focus on more functional, competent and user experience testing practices along with agile methodologies.
Let’s explore some limitations faced by the developers during mobile app development cycle.
- Unlike desktop applications, mobile apps don’t enjoy the liberty of size.
- Mobile apps need to be downloaded quickly.
- Should be able to update smoothly and quickly every time.
- Should be competent enough to interact with backend servers.
- Must meet frequently changing demands of the end-users.
All these limitations lead to a question: How can mobile app development comapnies constantly develop high-functioning apps given the constraints faced by them? The answer is agile methodologies and the best way to execute it is by collaboration between developers, designers, clients and the end-users.
Agile development supports the developers to stay on top of their game by enabling them to meet the frequent and ever-changing demands of the users. Additionally, it also allows the development team to concentrate on designing a flawless and optimal UI. Allowing the end users to participate in the development cycle will shed light on questions like:
- What kind of screens to be build?
- What features will work with users?
- Does the app meet the expectations of the users?
Another significant challenge faced by developers is mobile application testing. It is usually complex given its behavior on different OS.
Testing is of great significance because it allows the team to ensure excellence in performance quality as well as build, along with other features such as new programming language, privacy, touch screens, supported devices, inter-operational ability etc.
Developers can undertake some agile testing practices to overcome the challenges:
- Keeping developers, designers and testers in the same room will ensure better cooperation and collaboration within the team.
- Pairing testers and developers for unit testing will improve the test coverage.
- Pairing testers will ensure proper execution of non-functional and exploratory test.
- Initiating regression testing for critical features
- Keeping the designers on the same page with testers while testing ‘interface’ will help point out unconformities with respect to screen design and screen flow.
With the dynamic nature of cross platform or native (Windows, Android and iPhone) mobile app development, agile methodology holds the key. It is quintessential for agile development teams to keep updating and improving the app even after its launch. For organizations who wish to outpace their competitors by launching products quickly, agile development gives them wings.
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