Why do mobile projects fail? Presentation & Discussion Matthew Langham Indiginox GmbH Warning: There is no source code in this presentation!
Short answer• Because it’s harder than it looks!
http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/cameronparkins/3220496811/• Thanks and have a good journey home....
Matthew Langham• Co-Founder - Indiginox GmbH• Independent enterprise consultant for Mobile strategies• Mobile project management for Mobile operator and corporate customers• Mobile development• Author & Speaker• firstname.lastname@example.org• @silentpenguin or @indiginox
Goal• Pin needles into the map of mobile project development to provide you with some “focus points”•
Why do mobile projects fail? • Of course - for the same reasons other IT projects fail ... • Too little stakeholder involvement • Poor or unrealistic requirements • Unrealistic time scales • Scope creep over the development period • No management of change control • Quality assurance
But most often ..• “No matter what they tell you, its always a people problem.” • Gerald Weinberg (The secrets of consulting)
• Eric Schmidt (Google) said: “Mobile First!”• I say: “Think First!”
Mobile projects present additional challenges• Challenges affect the different phases of a project • Conception • Implementation & Testing • Deployment • Business
• The biggest mistakes are made before a line of code is written
Do you know what you’re doing?• Starting the project without understanding what you are dealing with can be deadly • “We’ve bought 500 iPads - and now we need an app!” • “We need a native app for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry - oh - and Windows Phone” • “Have you thought about a cross-platform Web app?” • “huh”? • “Our budget is xyz € and we need two apps that work on both iOS and Android ﬁnished by the 1st of December - can you do it? We haven’t completed the requirements list but we know someone who knows someone who did a prototype in 5 days”
Are you sure?• Functional requirements from people who don’t understand the technology • “Build a mobile widget that is just like ‘need for speed’” • “Build an Android Facebook home-screen widget for this low cost device that is just as fast as the native app on my high-end device” • “I want the App store to launch with 1.000 Apps!”
The challenge• How can we educate all project stakeholders so that they know enough about the technology to make informed decisions?
Technology “ripening”• Operating systems for mobile devices are often released too early • Very short release cycles during device and system development • Often several times a week • Functionality comes and goes depending on the release • Example: Changing the browser rendering engine during device development • “iOS devs: is it just me or is iOS5 getting even more buggy with each beta release?“ - kevinrose (01.09.2011)
Technology inﬂuence• Vendors and operators inﬂuence what goes into the device (and operators own the network) • Don’t make assumptions!• The underlying operating system plays a major role for your application • Even if you’re designing a Web app
Who’s leading Who?• Mobile technology is still developing very rapidly • Make sure your project won’t be obsolete by the time it’s ﬁnished • Plan iterations to make sure you keep up with new developments• Did you develop for WebOS?• Today, software innovation outpaces network innovation by at least a factor of ﬁve: application developers often reach market in only three to six months, while operators take 18-24 months to launch a new service. • Mobile-Developer_Econonomics_2011 (VisionMobile)
Technology cracks• Fragmentation will remain the problem • And I don’t just mean Android... • e.g. Mobile browsers or BlackBerry operating systems
Choosing resources• “Developers, Developers, Developers!”• “Readily available” mobile development is still relatively new • Downloadable SDK • Accessible devices • Testing via simulators• It’s difﬁcult to ﬁnd an all-rounder • iOS, Android and BlackBerry please
Choosing resources• Google releases ﬁrst “early look” Android SDK • November 2007• Apple released the ﬁrst beta version of the native iOS SDK • March 2008• So, don’t go looking for the mobile developer with 10 years of Android development expertise! • And also don’t trust anyone that experienced• Choose motivated and technically savvy resources with “mobile” experience and an eye for the challenges
Choosing resources• Does your developer really know mobile? • “They don’t seem to grasp that one must understand the native environment you’re working in before going ahead and writing a program to run within it.” • Andy Firth - http://altdevblogaday.com/2011/08/06/demise-low- level-programmer/
Choosing resources• Developers are increasingly experimenting with more and more platforms• Developers use on average 3.2 platforms concurrently based on a sample of 850+ online respondents. This represents a 15% increase from last year’s ﬁgure, indicating how developers are more willing to experiment with new platforms and actively transitioning to new ones • Mobile-Developer_Economics_2011 (VisionMobile)
Choosing resources• But it’s not just developers...• Great application user interface design • Not every UI designer knows mobile • Photoshop is not a mobile development tool!• Find designers who understand the technology implications • resolution, screen size • touch vs. non-touch • mobile vs. tablet • browser vs. app ﬂow• You attended the sessions on these topics - right?
Choosing resources• Find experienced mobile project managers, designers, developers and testers who can lead the team and act as mentors
Before we begin• Storyboard the application using mockups • Use a tool like Balsamiq • Test out your concepts with a target audience
Before we begin• Design the application with an understanding of the technology you’re targeting for • “Well it looked ﬁne on an iPhone...” - • “But we were targeting a BlackBerry with OS 5” • Did you remember not just to design for portrait mode?
Before we begin• Make your design “intelligent” • Use things like CSS media queries to be responsive • Computers aren’t the only piece of hardware with a web browser anymore • Look at “Mobile First” and add other layers as needed• Make sure your application is designed to look as though it is doing something • Mobile networks can be slow - so pretend they’re not and cache if you can!
Before we begin• A single bad screen can cost millions of dollars in lost revenue and brand value• You get only one chance to make a ﬁrst impression•
Mobile UI Performance• http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/07/18/seven-guidelines-for-designing-high-performance-mobile-user- experiences/
Mobile Browsers• “I thought everyone used WebKit now” • Yes, well, not quite - around 55% • And they are all different! • http://www.quirksmode.org/webkit_mobile.html
Did you pick the right technology?• Web Apps vs. Native Apps
Web Apps vs Native Apps• WebApps • Disadvantages • Browser != Browser • User interaction / interface can be limited compared to a native application • Performance of things like transitions, animations can be poorer • Integration of device speciﬁc technologies (camera, GPS) is lacking • Evaluate using something like PhoneGap • Enabling “native” look and feel (like swipe on iOS) may mean including several different libraries • Discoverability (how do customers ﬁnd your app)
Web Apps vs Native Apps• Native Apps • Advantages • Performance on speciﬁc devices • e.g. Angry Birds on HTC Wildﬁre • Usability, Design can be implemented speciﬁcally for a device • Integration of things like camera, GPS, device notiﬁcations • Integrated development tools (design, test, simulator) • Discoverability through app store • Sell apps for $$$
Web Apps vs Native Apps• Native Apps • Disadvantages • Loss of customer retention through app store model • Apps need to be developed for individual platforms (higher skill level) • Deployment of apps for a targeted audience (e.g. enterprise) is difﬁcult • Updates via store (iOS) take longer • App store “owner” can refuse your app
Web Apps on Steroids• Phone Gap • Provides access to native functionality for Web Apps •
No silver bullet!• Don’t let anyone tell you it’s “either or”• It should always be a well-informed use-case based decision
What type of App?http://www.zokem.com/2011/03/youtube-top-installed-app-facebook-leads-in-unique-users/
Testing• Testing a mobile application is time consuming• Simulators are available • Often part of the SDK (e.g. iOS) • HTML 5 - Ripple - http://ripple.tinyhippos.com/• Testing on actual devices is mandatory! • Make sure you test on the correct OS version• Also consider services such as DeviceAnywhere.com
Testing• Make sure you know which device your boss / customer is using - and test ﬁrst on that one
Engaging Mobile developers• Getting others to increase the value of your offering by building an application eco-system around your core business • Provide APIs into your data (REST based) • Provide a signup-service for applications (signup, get key etc.) • Provide an SDK including a sample application • Provide support (e.g. via a google news group) • Highlight good applications on a showcase Web-site / & go to conferences • Make sure communication is 2-way • Make sure you have a channel from the outside into your company
Deployment• Deploying an app into an App store takes time and effort • Plan for signing (if required) • Plan for the acceptance period (dependent on App store) • Plan for iterations as you need to update assets such as screenshots, descriptions (multi-language anyone?) • Is the App store set up to support the devices you wrote the app for • If the App store is available in different countries - have you tested with foreign sim-cards? Do you know what the limitations of those countries are?
War of the App stores• App Stores today: 121 (August 2011, Wiconnector) • But growth is slowing! • And quite a few will disappear again• Whitelabel solutions (from companies such as Appia) mean that the variety of App stores will increase • e.g. Appia powers the new Opera app store
War of the App stores• Which one? • Reach • Billing process • How attractive is the app store (i.e. volumes) • How good is the revenue share and overall revenue • How easy is it to upload an app
Not just an App store• Complex infrastructures • Upload platform • Shop / Discovery platform • Recommendation platform • Search Engine • Download platform • Routing gateways • Billing system • Reporting system • SAP
“Your cell phone has more computing power thanall of NASA in 1969.NASA launched a man to the moon. We launched abird into pigs.”(via Twitter)
Hot sellers• Angry Birds • Over 250 million downloads total (June 11) • 80% of owners do updates • 30 million downloads on Android (March 11) • $1 million / month through ad revenue on Android • Advantage - turnover through whole app lifecycle (including free updates) • iOS - Sold for a price - only monetization on initial purchase • Now additional monetization through in-app purchase - Mighty Eagle • Costs € 0,79 and has been downloaded over 2.000.000 times • ... and then ... cuddly toys, movie tie-in (“Rio”), TV series .. • So it was easy .... right?
Hot sellers• Angry Birds .. not quite so simple.. • Rovios 52nd title • Titles written for companies such as EA, Digital Chocolate • Initially spent € 100.000 to develop Angry Birds • When it was released in December 2009 in the English speaking App Store - it was a ﬂop! • Tough to break into that market from the get-go • Rovio tried to get a following in the smaller markets • Sweden, Denmark and Greece • Then published via Chillingo and with Apple’s help featuring the app on the UK App Store - launched new versions in February 2010 • And the rest is history
Hot sellers• What makes Angry Birds successful? • Simple to play - difﬁcult to master • Constant rewards in the game • Active continuous relationship with the customer • Regular updates for free and new versions with a theme (halloween etc.) • Cared about feedback from the customers • Phoenix bird that ignites the structure was a suggestion from a customer • Rovio were able to create a “buzz” around the game
Before you get too excited• The average smartphone user in a study added just 2.5 new apps per month.• 37 percent of users added no new apps at all. http://www.wirelessintelligence.com - Study was based on an analysis of more than 2,100 smartphone users (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Symbian) in the US and UK during January 2011
Keep track of your users• App Analytics • Track app users, sessions, platforms, demographics, ...• Solutions • Flurry.com • Localytics.com • Google Analytics • Let Facebook do the work
It’s just business• “Mobile apps aren’t a get rich quick scheme where you can be oblivious to best practice. “• “Usual business rules apply and there are extra mobile rules for the unwary.” • Simon Judge
Mobile in the enterprise• Consumerization of the enterprise • Employees expect the same seamless experience with mobilized enterprise applications as they have with the ones they use privately • This is further enhanced by “bring your own device” policies • Porting an enterprise application UI to a mobile device can be challenging• Additional enterprise challenges • Resistance to change • Legacy systems, data security, personal data .... • Limited peer sharing of experience or “best practices”
Thanks for staying to the end! “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better” - Samuel Beckett email@example.com photo on slide 1 (c) Frank Köhntopp - used with permission - http://www.ﬂickr.com/photos/koehntopp/
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