Setting Mobile App Development Priorities for Greatest ROI
How many mobile app projects are in your dev queue right now? How quickly does your team move through your app backlog? Does the business “squeaky wheel” get the most attention? Gartner quantified the backlog problem, concluding that demand for enterprise mobile apps will grow "at least five times faster than internal IT organizations' capacity to deliver them."
This is partly a skills issue. Although improvements in development tools and environments are helping address the technical challenges. But even if you had the financial resources, throwing more bodies at the issue isn't a cost-effective means of accelerating mobile app development deployments.
In its post on excess demand, Gartner listed four prongs necessary for any framework intended to speed up B2E app development and releases.
Number one of Gartner's list? Prioritization.
Hundreds of app and feature requests flood in regularly, each with varying amounts of business value potential. You want to devote your team's resources to the apps and features that will return the greatest value back to the enterprise at the lowest cost.
Make sure you're getting the most from your first 20%
Scrum teaches that 80% of the value comes from the top 20% of the features. Your low hanging fruit comes from identifying the right twenty percent of features to attack first. Start by looking at the features that have high bottom line value or are in high-demand across multiple apps – or both. Cross-reference this business value assessment with the estimated cost to develop the feature. The pool of features and apps that combine high business value and/or utility with lowest costs are your priority top twenty percent. In our VECTOR3 prioritization tool, this is some of the information we use to assign an overall priority score and then map them from highest to lowest using that score. We think of this as our own sort of feature and release "magic quadrant."
To make these calculations as accurate as possible, developers and business analysts should make their estimates of cost and value autonomously. At this assessment stage, the development cost has no bearing on the feature's potential business value and vice versa.
Once you have discrete costs for each feature, you can evaluate the potential to spread the cost for any high utility feature across multiple apps. For example, say you have five apps all requesting a scheduling feature. Cut the dev cost for including the scheduling feature in each app by eighty percent. That will boost these apps' relative value compared to their cost so they land objectively on your prioritization list.
Don't try to boil the ocean
First off, you'll fail. It can't be done. Why? Because the ocean isn't just really big, it constantly replenishes itself. Just like your mobile app dev queue.
Trying to shove in every feature possibly wanted in an app is the most common reason why dev teams get little done. This often causes analysis paralysis and projects often die before they even get started.
Using our mobile app prioritization approach lets you know which apps and features from your backlog to build first. We’ll help you build the app and the features that “need” to be built before the apps and features that the business “wants” to be built. Build in iterations based on the value different functions offer the business. A geolocation feature to track proof of delivery may have a high dev cost but compared to the estimated business value it quickly rises to make it a top five priority. However, the system may determine that it should be built after other communication functions.
App and feature prioritization requires constant re-assessment as new requests and business priorities come in. You can learn more about how VECTOR3 can help you quantify and assign priority to your app backlog on an ongoing basis here.