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In his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey presents an approach to achieving personal goals by adhering to universal and timeless principles. Matt Hatch, CEO of Orlando mobile app development company Mubaloo, explains how these same “seven habits” can be applied to developing “successful” mobile apps.

The success of a business application is not measured by its appearance or entertaining user interface, but by its ability to achieve the customer’s business goals. The following principles can help you maximize the chances of developing successful apps for business customers.

Be proactive

Companies shaping the mobile app industry must always be one step ahead. In many cases, enterprise customers are still at the beginning of their mobile journey and are just beginning to realize the potential of the smartphone as a business platform. Developers need to innovate and invest in a wide range of new capabilities and technologies to help customers take full advantage of these opportunities. Companies like Mubaloo should offer specialization in virtually all mobile platforms, including iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows 7, Blackberry, Bada, Symbian and Web.

Companies that specialize in application solutions must take the lead and continue to innovate by supplementing raw performance and functionality with advanced technologies such as 3D graphics and augmented reality (AR). The confidence to offer conceptual and design support differentiates the application development company from the basic application developer and allows the customer to adopt and leverage the capabilities of the mobile platform.

Start with the end goal.

The next step is to define the end goals of the application. These goals may include increasing brand awareness, providing access to information, extending existing services, and generating revenue. It is important to define the desired user experience before starting to build the app, which impatient developers love to do.

One should take the time to define the ideal features and the analytics that will measure success. This takes the form of open brainstorming, followed by structured business analysis that narrows down the options until the final decision is made. Screenshots and rapid prototyping are helpful in this part of the process, allowing the client to see samples of the finished application before proceeding with the build.

Put everything first.

The next step is to plan and prioritize the project’s tasks. Mubaloo, for example, has developed a structured 5S approach to interact with the customer and create an optimal statement of work. Here’s how:

Strategy: what do we want to achieve and how will we measure success?

Scope: develop a brief that includes business and user requirements, target platforms, features, budget and timeline.

Structure: detail the information architecture (IA) and user journey.

Skeleton: develops the functional structure of the entire application using wire-framing.

Interface: Develops the technical specifications, design, and quality assurance (QA).

The customer can choose the initial interaction point: from developing the initial concept (strategy and scope), to providing detailed specifications (structure and skeleton), to technical and design details (surface).

Think in terms of a mutually beneficial partnership.

In an ideal partnership, the customer receives a high-quality application and the developer receives positive feedback. In an emerging market, there are few points of reference. A developer with a portfolio of successful apps, satisfied customers and high ratings in app stores is one such reference point and builds trust on both sides.

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