Time, Cost, Quality: Which Ones Do You Choose for Your App?

Getting an app built is an investment. Whether your audience is consumers or business users, apps are an integral part of modern life. Over a decade of innovation places high expectations on the user experience of any new app to hit the market.

Businesses know they need to set aside a budget to ensure they get an app that will meet or exceed these minimum expectations. We even created a calculator to help companies get a sense of how much they need to budget.

Although we take a transparent approach to pricing, timescales and project management when working with clients, we know not everyone in our industry does. Some web and app development firms charge considerably more. Others charge a lot less, aiming to rush through product development so they can move onto the next paying project.

Related article: Transparency as a Key to Successful Partnership

As a result, companies can be left with the bewildering good, cheap, fast choice:

  • Do you pick expensive, with potentially protracted production timescales?
  • Or do you go for a more reasonable price, which offers a realistic production process?
  • Or what about the cheapest option? Some firms promise apps within a matter of a few short months.

It comes down to the time, cost, quality triangle (also known in project management as triple constraint).

Time, Quality, Cost Triangle

To help companies chose the best option for them, we've made a comparison below.

1: Time

App development goes through several stages. From wireframe and designs, to iterative testing, creating the front and back-end, connecting the app to any databases, APIs or other services as needed, then quality testing, further iterations and changes, as needed.

Web development company that skip some of these steps, or take shortcuts to reduce timescales throughout the process aren't doing their clients any favors. You could end with an app full of bugs. An app your users or paying customers don't want to download and use. An app that receives bad reviews on app stores, making it far less likely that new potential users will download it.

Every app comes with its own production timescale. It depends on the number of features, estimated hours - which should be illustrated in a proposal - and time for a web development firm to work with a client, communicating needs and changes throughout the project. However, a quote seems too long or too short, it probably is. Reasonable quotes should reflect the total time to build, iterate, test, improve and complete an app. Not rushing a project for a quick finish, nor dragging the work out for months and months.

2: Quality

Quality is a huge concern. If the end-result is an app you aren't happy with, it could take months to fix problems, or you might need to wait until you can work with a different firm to rebuild the app. Agencies that promise cheap and quick results often compromise on quality. Even if something looks nice - which is easier to achieve than ever thanks to templates - the user experience could let you down.

An app that doesn't perform as expected when it goes live represents a huge missed opportunity, potentially damaging marketing and sales growth plans, and customer relations.

Without an effective software testing (QA) process, you risk delivering a poor performing app to your customers and end-users. Some IT firms even re-outsource work to external developers or other third-party agencies in other countries. We know that some of these firms and freelancers do a fantastic job. But not all. Without the ability to monitor and consistently improve outputs, you risk launching an app far below the quality threshold your business needs.

3: Cost

When is a bargain not a bargain?

When you pay too little for something that needs more investment to ensure you get the results you actually want. App and web development is a sector where bargains aren't always what they appear and trading between constraints is not always a good way to go. Web development firms that are up-front about costs, that show how/where that budget is going to be spent, are the ones that are worth working with.

Risks of cheap app development

Watch out for cheap app developers that promise low prices, fast results, or are quick to offer discounts. Often this leads to compromises, rushed work and expensive problems down the road. At the same time, you don't need to work with the most expensive option either. A high-price doesn't always guarantee effective results.

Good, fast, cheap: choose wisely!

Picking the right web development firm to work with shouldn't involve compromises. Select the one that delivers the work you need at the right price, with an emphasis on quality and realistic timescales. It's also useful to take a look at the clients they've worked with, how clients rate them, the reviews, and other indicators of their ability. Here at Anadea, we provide full-cycle development from initial concept to a live application. We have all IT specialists for hire – software engineers, designers, mobile developers, QA engineers and DevOps.

Our customers get exactly what they want by communicating with engineers directly and controlling the project as if they were in the same room with the team.