To take an enterprise mobile application across the finish line and into production, development teams first need alignment around which deliverables are needed.
Enter Definition of Done. A Definition of Done mitigates risks and provides clear expectations for the project. It also helps to align business objectives with technical requirements so that the app does what the business needs — and what customers expect.
Let’s explore the Definition of Done, as well as the key deliverables that go into one — some essential and some nice-to-have. We’ll discuss their importance, as well as how a proven solution like Neontri’s Mobile App Framework optimizes the enterprise mobile app process for developers.
This article is the first of a three-part series on Neontri’s Mobile Framework and how it can help you develop your mobile app masterpiece. Follow us on LinkedIn to be the first to learn about the next two installments here on the blog.
Defining the “Definition of Done”
For development teams, a Definition of Done is a clear set of criteria that must be met before a project can be considered complete.
This definition sets out the bare minimum threshold of components so that developers know exactly what to work toward and what they must accomplish before an app is ready to go to production.
Teams should have a Definition of Done in hand before starting a project — this keeps everyone aligned from the beginning. Devs collaborate more effectively and encounter fewer misunderstandings with a shared definition of “complete” in hand. When everyone stays on the same page about the end goal, they can move forward more productively.
A Definition of Done draws a clear line in the sand. Once the app meets all of the named criteria, everyone involved can clearly see that it’s the finished product.
The three essential deliverables for a mobile enterprise application are as follows:
- The mobile app
Beyond these three, nice-to-have deliverables include:
- Testing tools or automated testing
- Administrative and management tools
Finally, developers should also plan for long-term support and development needs.
Deliverable 1: Mobile App
The first essential deliverable for an enterprise application is the mobile app itself. The requirements for an enterprise app differ significantly from building a business-to-consumer (B2C) mobile app.
Consider a common B2C app like a to-do list smartphone app. End-users may frequently make lists in the app and rely on it heavily. But most would agree that an app used for mobile banking, for instance, has far higher stakes for both users and the financial institutions they trust to manage their money.
Enterprise apps carry greater needs for security, complexity, and scale than B2C apps. A banking app needs to align with the highest standards of security and carefully protect user data. The banking app is much more complex by nature, and it’s critical that the app meets user expectations so that they can access their funds as needed.
Enterprise apps also face higher compliance and regulatory standards. Because these apps could face audits at any time, calling them “complete” must be done with care and only after the app is compliant.
Due to the many complexities of an enterprise app, a proven boilerplate solution for mobile app development allows organizations to optimize their processes. A ready-to-use architecture like the Mobile Framework:
- Frees up development teams to focus on business objectives, rather than having to solve for complexity and scale
- Gives organizations the ability to deliver key value from day one
- Offers peace of mind regarding application security, so companies can rest assured that user data is safe
Starting from scratch, developing an enterprise mobile app costs significant time and money. With a boilerplate solution, teams can decrease time-to-market and check off this deliverable much faster, getting the project one step closer to “done.”
Deliverable 2: Backend
The backend of an enterprise application ensures that everything is properly developed on the server side of the app so that data can be transferred between the system and its users.
Developers’ top priorities when getting the application’s backend to “done” are scalability and flexibility. These qualities allow the app infrastructure to adapt based on changing business requirements.
Even when demand for an enterprise app spikes, users need to know they can depend on the app to access their information. The server must be able to support those fluctuations under even the most demanding conditions. The backend deliverable relies on elements like cloud integrations and distributed systems that allow the application to withstand rapid changes and offer responsive user experiences. The server needs enough stability to withstand the load of multiple third-party systems and integrations with optimal functionality.
Once again, using a proven data management solution plays a key role in smoothing and speeding up the entire project. The Mobile Framework architecture allows teams to focus on accomplishing business goals from day one. Our backend tech stack is cloud-ready and offers a flexible deployment model to keep teams out of the weeds and focused on user needs.
Deliverable 3: Documentation
App documentation looks different for every enterprise project. It might include design documents, code documentation across languages, API references, installation guides, tutorials and support resources, and software development kits (SDKs).
Development teams may create documentation across several categories:
- User, including both end-users and system administrators
Documentation is an essential deliverable and one that touches everyone involved with the app, including developers, the business team, and end-users.
Software documentation helps developers keep track of and understand the processes that were used to build the app. When any changes are needed later on, devs can reference documentation to know how something was built, make updates, and revise the documentation to avoid issues in the future. This accelerates troubleshooting and problem-solving.
The business team that receives a finished product also benefits from documentation because it shows them how the app was built and draws a straight line from process to business objectives and values. Proper documentation shows the team what problems the app solves and how it aligns with business goals.
Of course, any app exists to serve its end-users. Various types of documentation can help them understand and make the most of their experience using the app. Tutorials, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), and user guides can all ease the user experience and guide troubleshooting. That way, users can steer clear of problems and get back to deriving value from the app.
Deliverable 4: Testing Tools or Automatic Tests (Nice-to-have)
Testing tools allow development teams to ensure that an enterprise app will meet user needs after deployment. Testing ensures an app’s scalability to meet higher demand, its functionality to meet user needs, and the quality of the user experience.
Automatic testing puts less of a strain on teams than manual testing, which can be labor-intensive and time-consuming. Many organizations use automated tests for highly repeatable tests such as regression and performance testing.
Testing is a “nice-to-have” deliverable because, while it may not be strictly essential to consider an app done, it greatly benefits and accelerates the project. At face value, an enterprise app that has not been tested for quality assurance or performance might seem to be ready for production. But without testing, the team won’t know what problems or slowdowns users might face when the app goes live.
A rigorous testing process helps developers identify problems with the application. Does each feature work as intended? Does the app as a whole meet users’ needs? Can it withstand times of high demand? Does it function on every device and operating system? Testing can answer these questions sooner rather than later and helps you avoid major disruptions (for both users and devs) later on.
At Neontri, we use the latest testing tools to ensure that enterprise applications meet business needs. Every user, regardless of their operating system or device type, should be able to easily access the app with a user-friendly experience. We simulate various scenarios, including multiple devices and both Android and iOS, to ensure that the app works seamlessly for all users.
Deliverable 5: Administrative and Management Tools (Nice-to-have)
After deploying your mobile application, you’ll want to have full control over the path forward. You need to know that you can adjust functions, make changes, and collect feedback to improve the app.
However, ongoing maintenance often poses a challenge to developers. Propagating app changes to the App Store and Google Play can be a difficult process, and after you’ve released updates, users may have outdated versions of the app and encounter issues as a result.
Administrative tools can help with making changes over time. The Neontri Mobile Framework offers the flexibility to manage application functions, like our feature toggles tool that lets you selectively release new functionalities and ensure better change management.
Helping users to update your application to a newer version doesn’t just help them have a better experience. For banking and fintech apps, it makes all the difference for regulatory compliance. Neontri offers in-app messaging functions and other tools to communicate changes to users, encourage them to update, and even block them from accessing the app if their version is too old.
Another important deliverable to keep in mind for your Definition of Done is building mechanisms to collect and analyze feedback from end-users. Create forms and surveys that can engage users to share what they think. This input can reveal needed changes and insights about the user experience that your development team may not have noticed.
Plan for feedback channels before deployment to understand users from the start and avoid missing issues further down the line.
Additional deliverable: Long-term support and development
Outside of building each of these deliverables to accomplish a definition of done, the project team must prepare for what comes after the app goes into production: the long-term needs of users.
Your app will inevitably need updates and bug fixes. Users will face major support challenges. Devices and operating systems upgrade, which can lead to fragmentation. You need to be able to adapt and guide users through each of these scenarios.
Before an app is considered “done,” the development team should plan for these future changes. Thorough documentation is key here, too, because it allows devs to keep track of and adapt the app’s code and functionality. Over time, they’ll need to reference what was built originally in order to make changes and address challenges.
Building your app for the long term also involves readiness planning for new features and even new technologies like AI. Across industries, AI is poised to add in-depth analytics, customized support, and streamlined automation — these functions could add value to any enterprise app. It’s critical to consider how new tech can help you better serve users and how you will incorporate these tools into your application.
Continuous learning and adaptation are essential elements of applications that grow and change to meet user needs over time. Optimize your mobile app by capturing user feedback and behavior, then resolving issues and adding functionality that supports the business needs.
A Definition of Done is a critical tool to build an enterprise mobile application that meets business objectives and user needs. Each deliverable plays an important role in the initial and ongoing security, support, and success of the app.
For every step needed to mark your project “complete,” a proven solution like Neontri’s Mobile App Framework lets your team focus on your clients instead of what they don’t see. You can have it all — a fast time to market, and usability and security.
In the meantime, if you’re ready to talk about how the Mobile App Framework can help you reach “done” sooner and securely, get in touch with us today.