Inside Chop Dawg’s Award-Winning App Development Process
Tammy Slaughter wrote this article
For almost ten years now, ChopDawg.com has been helping startups, SMBs, Fortune 500’s and non-profits alike turn their brilliant ideas into powerful brands and amazing products.
As a Technical Partner, over the years we have helped our clients to develop over 250+ digital products, including web and mobile applications, artificial intelligence software, chat bots, blockchain technologies, and more!
When it comes to working with Chop Dawg,
Think Partner; Not Agency
We truly believe your success is our success.
Over the past ten years, we have honed our methodology and app development process to what we know not only guarantees our clients’ a successful app launch, but puts them on the path for long-term success as well.
So, how do we take your idea and turn it into a marketable, profitable digital product?
It’s a journey that starts with the very first phone call.
Every step of the way, we are there beside you making sure that you are a part of our process of building something amazing together.
It’s the difference between sitting next to you at the table verses across.
Phase 1: Documenting Your Project Scope
Before any work begins on your app, we will work carefully alongside you to develop a complete project scope for your app, including any desired features and functionalities.
All of this is carefully documented, and by the time we are done, you’ll know what your app looks like on paper. Sometimes, this means you’ll be assigned a bit of homework along the way, depending on where exactly you’re at in the app planning process.
We’ll need a Book of Genesis, or ‘wishlist’ for your app. We require this from any potential client who would like to move forward with a proposal from Chop Dawg, as your app’s Book of Genesis will inform your extensive Project Proposal our team will craft specially for you.
Homework, you say?
We’ve had the occasional potential client balk at the prospect of us assigning homework. After all, aren’t they paying us to develop an app?
The answer is, yes and while we’re pretty darn good at our jobs, we don’t pretend to know everything about your app. At least not right away.
But we will become experts by working with you to develop a complete project scope in accordance with your vision and what you need your app to be. In the process, helping you tailor your day one vision as needed cost and time-wise, offering you our expert opinion based on years of experience developing and designing apps.
We’ve learned over ten years of building mobile apps with companies of all sizes that there is too much room for miscommunication and mismanagement of your budget when we try to guess at what your app needs to be as we go along.
For both of us to be successful, this means we and you cannot afford to waste precious minutes figuring out scope or potential features as we go along. We need to follow a Game Plan from day one, and that’s where our app development process comes in.
Otherwise, it’s like trying to hit a moving target while blindfolded, and it’s a guaranteed way for your app to suffer from what we call Scope Creep, resulting in your time and your money down the drain.
Also, unlike traditional app development agencies, we do not bill hourly for our services, but instead offer flat-rate pricing on a per-project basis. For many startups, first-time entrepreneurs, SMBs, and non-profits, this is hugely helpful towards planning, as you’ll know exactly what to expect budget-wise from day one too. That doesn’t mean we can’t make any minor or changes as we go along – as long as the project scope of your app doesn’t increase, neither does your budget. You may, however, deal with some slight delays, as sometimes making changes requires backtracking first.
The good news is, with our flat-rate pricing model and extensive initial documentation via our Project Proposal here at Chop Dawg, any miscommunications, delays, or mismanagement of funds towards developing your app are eliminated.
Phase 2: Preliminary UI/UX App Design or ‘Wireframing’
Once we document the project scope of your app, we enter into the Design Phase.
Depending on the complexity of your app, this can take anywhere from one to six months.
Our designers will start by creating wireframes for your app, or black-and-white visual guides representing the basic skeleton.
These wireframes serve as blueprint concepts of every single screen, function, pop-up, and animation that needs to be accounted for and built in your app.
Wireframing accounts for the entire foundation of your application’s design, so we make sure everything is perfect before moving ahead with the next step of the Design Phase.
Phase 3: High-Fidelity UI/UX App Design
After each individual is approved in one of our weekly meetings with you, our designers will move into creating the high-fidelities of the app; a pixel-perfect representation of what the app will look like.
Using the blueprints we created during wireframing, these high-fidelity mock-ups will show you exactly what your app will look like to your future users, screen by screen.
This is always where the fun begins, because you can really start to see your unique app vision come to life.
Phase 4: Product Flow Documentation
With each individual screen of your application carefully designed to perfection, right down to the last pixel, we’ll get to work defining the logic that flows between all of those screens.
This phase determines the order of when and where each individual screen appears, where data is sent, received, and how everything will function and interact with each other overall once the application is fully programmed.
Think of this like creating the blueprints to a new building – before construction starts, we’d need to define everything that’s required and where it’s all going to go, like plumbing, layout, doors, exact dimensions and materials needed.
Failure to do this could result in things not being in the right place when it comes time to implement them during construction, or in our case, app development. The last thing we want to do is develop all these gorgeous app screens that don’t fit with the necessary logic for the app to operate as expected.
We will also provide you with what is called a non-functioning product, or NFP. This way, you can test out for yourself using a special software and show off to your friends and family how your app will look and feel before we move ahead with programming.
Then, our designers will give these final product flow schematics to our programmers so they can complete the programming side of your app from A-Z.
Phase 5: App Development
After the app’s design is fully approved, our team will move into the Development phase, the duration of which varying widely depending on the unique features of your app.
We’ll then shift to meeting with you every two weeks to account for the slower pace of deliverables while in development.
Think of app development like building the brain of your application. We have to tell it what and how to think, and when for it to all work.
We assign in-house US-based developers who are most compatible with the technologies selected during the Scoping & Documentation phase. Then, the fun truly begins.
All of our developers are agile – and we always keep you in the loop about what is going on so we can regularly review and assess what we’re building. All of the code that runs the product, including back-end partners and sources, will be fully implemented and ready for testing.
Phase 6: Quality Assurance Testing
Once the Development Phase is complete, we’ll enter into the Quality Assurance Phase.
What we want to discover for ourselves here are all of the possible scenarios that you users could go through. We’ll make sure your product works on all supported devices and is primed for launch and can handle real-world usage from the get-go.
From there, our development team will do everything possible to try to “break” your app.
If and when any weaknesses or inconsistencies with your code come to light, we’ll organize them into different categories to help you as our client follow along during our QA testing process.
P1s are the most important to fix, or else the product doesn’t function.
P2s are noticeable and more prominent issues but don’t necessarily prevent the product from functioning.
P3s are smaller issues, typically styling related; we need to address these but P3s not the top focus at this phase.
With ten years of experience and an award-winning app development process that tests for consistently throughout on multiple devices, our team is experienced sorting issues from large to hard-to-pin-down problems and then articulating them in precise, intelligible bug reports.
Through careful documentation of your app along the way, with a unique project proposal planning the entire scope of your app from Day 1, we’ll stretch your app’s logic to its absolute limits before going to launch.
What We Don’t Want:
For you to have to be reactive to issues when your application launches. The launch should be a time of celebration. While we have designated Quality Assurance developers on the team, everyone thinks with a quality-first mindset. The seamless integration of both designers and developers in-house and our day-one process limits any miscommunications in the overall scope and vision of your app.
Typical Quality Assurance for an app can take anywhere from one to three months depending on the complexity of your app.
Phase 7: Launching Your App
Finally, it’s here.
The day we’ve both been waiting for.
As anyone knows, submitting your IOS app to the App Store typically requires a little finagling. Luckily, after ten years of successfully building apps to launch, we know what the sticking points here.
Typically, after one or two minor adjustments your app will be ready to hit the app store. If your app is android, I have good news for you: The Google Play Store is much less stringent than Apple and typically approve apps right away. Whew. right?
While a lot of what happens after your app launches is up to you, our goal is to set you up for success with the beautifully designed and functional mobile app of your dreams. We’ll even set you up with a few free marketing assets to help you promote your brand new app, such as posts and cover photos for social media sites.
This is also where being a Technical Partner, not an agency, comes in.
If you have questions, concerns, need guidance or feedback during or after launch, our team is here for you. We’re happy to make introductions, suggestions, and help set things into motion so you can put your best foot forward with your app.
And our expertise doesn’t end full-stop right after launch. Next, we’ll move into Phase 8.
Phase 8: Our 45-Day Maintenance Window
With our 45-day maintenance window, we will make any minor adjustments needed to the app once it’s launched, such as swapping photos, minor text or color changes, etc.
If any bugs managed to slip through the cracks during our extensive quality assurance testing, we’ll squash them free of charge with our 90-day bug warranty as well.
We may be app developers, but customer service is a sacred art to all members of our team.
At Chop Dawg, We’re Partners With You in the App Development Process
It’s unique in our industry, but it works.
If you’re already set up and ready to work with Chop Dawg on your next app, we can’t wait to get started. If you’re thinking of embarking on a new app development adventure, I have good news for you: You’ve come to the right place.
Simply contact us via our website form, and we will get back to you shortly to schedule your free initial consultation!