One of the most common worrisome and frustrating problems faced, by both the developers and app owners, when developing an app is project cost overruns.

Neither side likes them, nor do they plan for them.

Developers take pride in completing their project under the proposed cost estimate. So, naturally, running over them is a real morale dampener for them.

On the other hand, going over the budget puts the app owner in an uncomfortable position in terms of funds, to say the least. It’s also a real trust breaker between the two parties.

Never the less, sometimes it becomes an eventuality because of certain factors.

Reasons Your App Cost You More Than You Planned

When going into an app development project, most app product owners don’t consider certain cost influencing factors until it’s too late and they’re facing them. Here are 5 of the most common factors that drive up the cost of app development:

1. Inaccurate Project Discovery

Project discovery is, as the name suggests, the process of discovering what needs to be accomplished through the app i.e. the purpose of the app and how best to achieve it (i.e. features). Not only does the discovery process help determine the features for the app; it also helps the app product owner to refine/reshape their intended vision. This insures there are no changes along the way in the requirements from the owner’s end.

If the project discovery is done inaccurately, or worse skipped altogether, the app cost estimates and the feature-set requirements will always be in flux and bound to go over budget.

Through the discovery sessions, the developers will have a definite road map to follow for developing the app, making things simple and keeping both parties on the same page in terms of expectations.

2. Incomplete User Stories

For a developer to create the app exactly according to your expectations, he needs to understand those expectations first. This is where user stories come into play.

User stories are what the users (will) expect from the app. For example user stories for an app for a teaching institution would look like:

User Expectation
Student I want to view my grades for all courses
Teacher I want to insert grades for quizzes, assignments and tests

Describing your goals for the app through user stories gives the developer an accurate understanding of the features needed to accomplish them. Furthermore, the developers can tell exactly how many hours of work will go into developing each of the features – giving you an accurate cost.

Another advantage is that an app owner with little to no technological understanding of the development process can describe exactly what he wants in his app, even if he doesn’t know the technologies or features that would be needed to accomplish them.

Failure to list all the user stories not only interrupts the developer’s process when they’re added later, it also increases the cost of the app.

3. Unplanned Scope Creep

Any changes to the app features and requirements during the development phase, even after the user stories have been submitted, is termed as scope creep.

App owners tend to ask for changes in the app features once development has begun. This adds to the workload and the time-frame for the delivery of the product thus, consequently, driving up the cost of the app.

Some savvy developers create a small margin i.e. buffer for scope creep, beforehand, when quoting the app. However, if the scope keeps creeping throughout the development process, the developers will bill for every subsequent modification or revision, and rightly so.

4. Building for Multiple Platforms at the Same Time

More often than not, app owners want to develop their apps for iOS and Android at the same time. They tend to think it’s easier and less time consuming to do both, together.

This is incorrect.

If you develop for both platforms at the same time, then all the issues that arise during development will have to solved twice, instead of once.

Launching on a single app store, will give the developers a clear roadmap of every issue that arose from designing to launching the app. This way, when developing for the second platform, you will have gained the chance to not only avoid the issues that cropped up but any mistakes the first development team might have made. Therefore, reducing time and cost of app development for the second version.

Conclusion

It seems like an acceptable norm for app owners to expect their apps to go a little over the intended budget. It shouldn’t.

With a little foresight, quick thinking and deep planning – you can have your app completed well within the budget. Just paying attention to the top 4 reasons apps go over budget can help you keep your costs from creeping up, and save you not just money and time but a lot of stress, as well.