Why traditional mobile development practices will fail according to Gartner

If a software application development business isn’t Agile or moving that way, they won’t be successful producing mobile applications, according to Gartner. Agile development processes enable additional flexibility and speed that mobile application software development businesses need in order to survive in an increasingly mobile centric world.
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User volatility and a brave new world of unknowns

If you’re in the business of mobile application, the traditional methods of requirements gathering generally fail to be effective. According to Gartner, “..mobile apps are a new category for most users and secondly, mobile apps are constrained by the nature of the platform and the size of the screen, so porting the workflow of a mature desktop app is not viable.” In other words, due to the complexity of multiple devices, screen size, and the challenge of reproducing a useful application workflow on a mobile platform means the flexible and dynamic Agile approach is necessary.

The volatility of mobile applications will push businesses to put more focus on the importance of internal testing to gauge user experience prior to a release. User acceptance and beta testing with customers also increases in priority in order for mobile development to get customer feedback.

Agile for development speed and increased release rate

Agile methodologies use short iterations and release more frequently. Getting a mobile app to market can’t wait for a traditional release cycle. Gartner states that the “rapid pace of change in the mobile market is putting pressure on development and operations teams to adopt rapid development and deployment practices that constantly iterate…”

Agile methodology practices provide frequent, smaller code releases to both increase speed of release to market both for the release and any bug fixes necessary to improve user experience. Mobile app users expect rapid updates and a constant flow of innovation.

Another mobile force is the frequent release of new versions of mobile OSs, devices and service providers. The sheer number of variants that affect mobile app functionality make it crucial to be able to roll with the punches and get quality code to users as quickly as possible.

Testing and the rise of user experience and usability

Gartner states that, “Most complaints about mobile apps have to do with a poor user experience.” In other words current mobile application development fails to meet users workflow needs To counter this, Gartner suggests altering testing methods to a multi-tier approach that includes testing using simulators and a subset of devices, OSs, and screen sizes.

Gartner suggests supplementing testing with usability and user experience testing “in-the-wild.” Usability, acceptance and beta testing by users with a variety of parameters become more essential for providing a quality mobile application release as they provide a method of testing how users actually work. According to Gartner, “this alone will result in a higher chance for a successful development effort.”

Testers and UI professionals rejoice! Finally the voice of the end user comes to the forefront. After all, in order to have a successful release of a mobile app on multiple devices with differing providers, it’s the user’s experience with the app functionality that determines app success or failure or as Gartner states: “This alone will result in a higher chance for a successful development effort.”

Access the Gartner report here: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2823619

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