The focus on mobile application projects is typically on launching, with little regard for what happens after launch. This isn’t surprising; launching a mobile application is very hard, and the majority of a team’s effort will be spent on getting the product to market in the most efficient manner.
But what happens after launch? Mobile application development is not a one-and-done: success requires a broader product vision and a sustainable strategy. As I discussed in a recent article on mobile application budgeting, in order to have any chance at success, you need to have a plan in place that includes analytics to measure performance and iterate, a marketing plan in place to acquire customers and drive engagement, and a broader mobile strategy that allows for continuous delivery and improvement.
The reality however, is most teams don’t have a plan in place to support their mobile application, both from a technical and business perspective. Without a mobile application strategy to sustain and improve the product after launch, there is nothing driving the direction of the product after it enters the market.
We’re going to look at the various post-launch approaches and give recommendations on how to best address the challenges of sustained success after initial launch. Specifically, we will look at important considerations like:
Approaches to Post-Launch Development and Marketing
Typically, there are three ways companies tackle the post-launch phase:
1. Launch and pray
The “launch and pray” approach is a waste of time and money, but more common than you might think. It happens when the project team focuses exclusively on getting the product to market. There is no consideration for how they will track performance, market the product, add features and functionalities, etc. Any activity post-launch has been ignored, pushed out of sight and mind by a complete focus on shipping the product.
2. Assess and monitor
This approach typically entails a support or maintenance plan but fails to address continual improvement of the mobile application. It’s more involved than thepublish and pray approach and tends to be reactionary rather than proactive. Assessing and monitoring includes bug fixes, crash reporting and resolution, and triaging certain technical issues. It often doesn’t include a product roadmap or all kind of strategy to improve and enhance the mobile application and customer experience after initial launch. This approach is concerned with maintenance rather than new product features and improvements.
3. Continuous delivery
The continuous delivery approach includes performance monitoring and assessment in real-time along with rapid product iteration. There is a clearer product vision and known product roadmap in place for additional features after initial launch, as well as a framework for assessing current features. Regular delivery is an agile development approach, focusing on the “fast follow” and quick delivery to address technical debt and continually improve the product, both technically and from a user experience perspective.
The Ideal Post-Launch Mobile App Strategy
A continuous delivery approach is ideal, allowing for a more holistic strategy that gives your product a much clearer direction. The first two approaches mentioned are often disjointed and can result in launching an app that may not solve business problems or customer pain points. Furthermore, these approaches tend to lead to a misunderstanding of cost involved and what exactly can be accomplished. With the continuous delivery model, you have a clear strategy that gives the product direction so you don’t waste money and can align the product with business objectives.
This doesn’t mean you have to keep spending at the same pace or in the same area. This strategy ensures the business has a mobile strategy that is constantly evolving and changing just as every business does.
Tips on Enacting Continuous Delivery Post-Launch
Launching a mobile application is understandably the highest priority for most project teams. However, focusing on launch without regard for post-launch success and delivery is short-sighted and a recipe for failure. Whether internally or in partnership with a trusted mobile application development firm, it is imperative that you have a mobile strategy that champions continuous delivery so you can improve your product, maintain a clear direction, and meet business objectives long after the initial launch of your mobile application.