Insights | Digital Enablement

Why App Development Needs a Clear Vision (And How to Craft One)

Establishing a clear vision for app development is the crucial first step in bringing innovative ideas to life

Author: Macaulan Servan-Chiaramonte

 

When embarking on the journey of app development, it’s essential to establish a clear and comprehensive vision. This vision sets the overarching direction, purpose, and goals for the project, providing a roadmap that guides every aspect of development. It serves as a source of inspiration, motivation, and alignment for everyone involved in the project, from business stakeholders to developers to end-users.  

By establishing and socializing a vision, developers can focus their efforts on creating an application that meets the needs of the users, aligning with the customer and/or employee experience. A well-defined vision helps to ensure that the application is innovative, unique, and meaningful, increasing the likelihood of success and adoption. In the highly competitive world of technology, this is crucial.

The five main steps to establishing a strong vision during your app development process are:  

  • Exploring idea generation
  • Deciding what to build 
  • Aligning with broader strategy 
  • Socializing the vision 
  • Determining how to build 

 

Exploring Idea Generation

Exploring idea generation leads to a range of valuable outcomes, including: 

Defined business drivers: Brainstorming a wide range of ideas enables stakeholders to identify the concepts most likely to meet the business goals and objectives, refining the vision, and ensuring alignment with the broader business strategy. 

Exploring multiple narratives: Creating several narratives that explore different aspects of the application can help stakeholders to comprehend the benefits of the project from multiple perspectives. 

Identification of risks and challenges: Considering a range of ideas and scenarios helps stakeholders anticipate obstacles and develop strategies to address them, ensuring the final application is robust, resilient, and effective in meeting user needs. It also helps minimize delays throughout the development process. 

Fostering a culture of innovation and creativity: Encouraging stakeholders to generate a wide range of ideas fosters a sense of experimentation and risk-taking from the beginning, leading to new and groundbreaking concepts that keep the organization ahead of the competition, create new markets, and drive business growth. 

 

[Read More: How to Empower Your Team to Deliver Successful Software Projects]

 

Deciding what to build 

Once the idea generation phase is complete, the next step in establishing the vision during app development is to decide what you’re building. This involves defining the required functions, data, business priorities, and understanding the expected return on investment (ROI). 

The following are the key outcomes of this step: 

Defined required functions: This involves identifying the core functions that the application must perform to meet user needs and business objectives. These should be aligned with the vision and goals established in the previous step. It is important to prioritize these functions based on their importance to the overall success of the project. 

Defined required data: The next step is to identify the data that the application will need to operate effectively. This includes data that will be used to support key functions, as well as data that will be used to monitor and measure performance. Data security and privacy concerns should also be taken into account at this stage. 

Expectation on ROI: It is important to establish a clear expectation on ROI for the application. This involves identifying the expected benefits, such as increased revenue, reduced costs, customer or employee engagement and ensuring that these benefits are realistic, measurable, and achievable. 

 

Aligning with broader strategy

The next step is to align the vision with the broader organizational strategy. This involves ensuring that the vision is consistent with enterprise-wide goals and that a wide range of stakeholder input is considered. 

The following are the key outcomes of this step: 

Documented enterprise-wide goals: It is important to ensure that the vision for the application aligns with broader enterprise-wide goals, from both the business and technology perspective. This involves reviewing the organization’s overall strategy and identifying how the application builds towards to these goals. This alignment should be documented and socialized to ensure that everyone involved in the project clearly understands how it fits into the broader organizational context. 

Understanding other stakeholder input: Other internal or external stakeholders may have input into the vision of the application, particularly if it is seen as a strategic initiative for the organization. It is important to ensure their input has been gathered and that the vision aligns with their expectations, too. 

Consistency with organizational culture and values: The vision for the application should be consistent with the organization’s culture and values. This includes aligning the app development vision with the organization’s mission statement and that it reflects the organization’s commitment to ethical and sustainable business practices. 

 

[Case Study: How RevGen Laid the Foundation for a Smooth Platform Transition]

 

Socializing the vision

Once the vision for an application has been established and aligned with broader organizational strategy, the next step is to socialize the vision. This involves generating enthusiasm for the project and ensuring it becomes part of the company’s identity. 

The following are the key outcomes of this step: 

Hype the vision: It is important to generate excitement and enthusiasm for the vision among stakeholders, including employees, customers, and partners. This can be achieved through marketing and communication efforts such as social media campaigns, email newsletters, and press releases, or internal communications. The goal is to create a buzz around the vision and generate interest in the project. 

Fold the vision into the company’s identity: The vision for the application should be integrated into the company’s identity and culture. This involves ensuring that the vision is consistent with the company’s values and mission statement and that it reflects the organization’s commitment to innovation and customer-centricity. The vision should be communicated throughout the organization to ensure that everyone understands how it fits into the broader organizational context. 

 

Determining how to build

Once the vision for an application has been socialized, the next step is to move into some practical matters by determining how the project will be built. This involves defining guiding principles, objectives, conducting research, establishing success criteria, and defining a minimum viable product (MVP). 

The following are the key outcomes of this step: 

Guiding principles: It is important to establish guiding principles for the project. These are the fundamental beliefs or values that will drive decision-making throughout the project’s lifecycle. Guiding principles should be based on the company’s values, mission statement, and the already agreed-upon vision for the project. 

Objectives: Clear objectives should be defined for the project. They should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. Objectives should be aligned with the project’s vision and guiding principles. 

Research: Conducting research is a critical step in building a successful application. This involves conducting market research, user research, and competitive analysis to inform the project’s design and development. 

Success criteria: It is important to establish success criteria for the project. Success criteria should be aligned with the project’s objectives and should define how the project’s success will be measured. Again, this criterion should be specific and measurable. 

Minimum viable product: An MVP is the minimum set of features or functionality that can be released to the market to test the project’s viability. Defining an MVP allows the project team to focus on delivering the most critical features first, while continuing to iterate and improve the application over time.  

 

Establishing a clear vision for app development is the crucial first step in bringing innovative ideas to life. By following the steps outlined above, innovators create a shared understanding of the project’s goals and build a solid foundation for success. Ultimately, establishing a well-defined vision is the first step in driving innovation, creating value, and achieving strategic objectives. 

To learn more about the services we offer, visit our Digital Enablement page. 

 

Headshot of Macaulan Servan-Chiaramonte, RevGen Partners Senior ConsultantMacaulan Servan-Chiaramonte is a Senior Consultant who is passionate about building scalable, maintainable, and easy-to-use solutions for businesses.  

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