How long does it take to build an app? The answer to this question merits the popular response: How long is a piece of string? There are several factors involved in the app development process and while a minimum of three months is required for the most basic of apps, very rarely do app projects extend up to a year. The general consensus for a reasonable duration of build time is anywhere between 4-6 months.

To understand better, let’s first take a look at the factors that influence the production timeline for apps:

1. Features and complexity
2. Quality and testing
3. Intended platform
4. Budget
5. Resources

1. Features and complexity: The scope and category of the app determines the project timelines for most part. The more detailed and complex the functionality of the app, the higher it takes to build. Thus for gaming apps that require high definition graphics and design, the development time would be considerably higher. So the more features an app has, the longer it takes to design, develop, and test. For those making a foray in to the apps market, it is a good idea to first develop a minimal viable product (MVP), that has just the right number of features and functionality and no more. This allows you to roll out v1 faster and reduces the time to market. You can add advanced features and layers of functions in subsequent releases as you understand user feedback and requirements better.

2. Quality and testing: Rome wasn’t built in a day. The overall app quality determines its success in various app stores. From a seamless UI and flawless user experience, to fast and robust performance, every small and big aspect of performance matters. It would be foolhardy not to allocate ample time and resources for quality assurance and testing. Based on the type of manual or automated testing required, the QA versus development ratio for apps could range from 1:8 to 4:1.

3. Intended platform: It is seldom that apps are launched simultaneously to all platforms. The timelines will vary based on the platform selected for initial launch. Some businesses prefer to launch for the Android market first, owing to its mass appeal, while some prefer to launch the iOS version first. But ideally with advanced cross-platform capabilities of technologies such as Xamarin, you could aim for a universal launch. Xamarin app development services empower users to ship fully native mobile apps for multiple platforms on a shared C# codebase using the same IDE, language and APIs. This can also shorten the project cycle considerably.

4. Budget: In any business, budget is the defining factor for the project viability. Time is equal to money and software development projects can’t afford to forget this. As discussed earlier, building an MVP enables a faster launch and helps to allocate resources optimally. An MVP also allows you to seek more funding or attract investors if needed.

5. Resources: Project timelines count very heavily on the finest of resources and their availability. So both the deadlines and the quality of the project rely greatly on the development team you hire. Experienced development companies or teams with vast domain knowledge and strong skillset work with a first-time right approach, reducing the number of iterations and amends. While even simple tasks may take weeks to develop if you hire amateurs.
Ensure that you hire the most appropriate resources for your budget, both in terms of quality and number of developers. A freelancer alone may take much longer to complete your project as opposed to a dedicated dev team.

There is no exact science for calculating the app development time but with the factors listed above you can get a ballpark estimate of the project’s implementation schedule and budget. If you are contemplating to venture into the app market and would like to get a professional estimate, please feel free to get in touch or raise your queries in the comments section below.

Author's Bio: 

Kaushal Shah manages digital marketing communications for the enterprise technology services provided by Rishabh Software. The blog was created after thorough research and discussion with developers.