The Unexpected Costs of Developing a Web App
Developing a new web app is a big project. And with big projects come unexpected costs…always.
In our experience, many clients want a sure thing – a guaranteed cost. But there simply is no sure thing when you’re setting out to build something that’s never been built before.
Unavoidable Unexpected Costs: The Nature of Web Apps
We work hard to create detailed scopes and manage client expectations to avoid unexpected costs, but there are lots of unknowns in large projects. No matter how experienced you are and how well you scope out a project, there are some things you simply cannot predict when you’re developing something new.
It is impossible to foresee every potential challenge and pitfall from day 1. Unless of course you can see the future, but that’s a different topic altogether…
This is a large pain point in selling projects to clients, but the fact is, developing a new web app is not a transaction. It’s a creation process. There are unknown variables both on the client slide and in the nature of the project.
People are used to fixed prices, but creating new web app is completely unlike walking into Best Buy and buying a TV. You are not buying a standard product off the shelf. You are becoming part of the product design team.
So instead of looking for a “sure thing,” look for a great team and a great partner. Sure things just don’t exist.
The important thing to find is a partner that truly understands your business. This is where the business analyst comes in. When a client comes to us with a project, they usually think they know exactly what they want…
But often they don’t know what they really need.
It is our job to uncover the true issues and pain points, the motivation behind their new web app, in order to ultimately deliver a product that solves their underlying desires and gives them what they really need in order to be successful.
Avoidable Unexpected Costs: The Cost of Doing Business
The good news is there are some types of unexpected costs that can be avoided.
Ok, actually that was a lie.
These costs cannot be avoided. However, you can change these costs from being unexpected to being expected by clients.
We call these costs the costs of doing business.
These are mostly infrastructure costs (bandwidth, platform costs) and app maintenance and improvements.
Your app won’t just continue to run forever without maintenance, and that costs real money. You wouldn’t tear into your BMW and start messing around with the engine. You’ll need an expert web development team to maintain your app – unless you are an expert yourself.
Also, apps should not be stagnant. They need to evolve over time, which means additional design and development costs.
When these costs fall in the unexpected category, it is usually the result of inexperience on either the client side or the agency side (or worse, both).
Make sure your clients have these costs of doing business in mind from the start of the project. They may seem obvious, but if your client has never gone through this process, many of these costs will be overlooked. Then these costs become surprises at the end of a project and continue through the life of the web app, needless to say, your client will be not so happy (to put it lightly).
What’s the moral of the story?
Pick a good partner. An experienced partner. One that will make sure you are informed, understands your business needs, and will build your new web app right the first time.