Ship That App!
While this might seem obvious, shipping an app is actually the hardest part of the development process. Today I’m going to discuss the different kinds of motivation – both positive and negative – that will help you along in your development quest, as well as some tips, tricks, and checklists for getting across that final finish line.
The single most important factor in shipping an app is getting motivated, and the best way to build motivation is through incentives. You need to get worked up about your app – get excited about getting it done! So let’s look at some positive motivation techniques that can help.
VISUALIZE THE COMPLETED APP
First, visualize your completed app. Think about how good it will be when it’s finished and published on the App Store. Think about how excited you’ll be to tell your friends and colleagues about your new release, and how many people around the world will be able to download your work with the touch of a button. Think of the fame and fortune- the world can be yours if you can only get this software out the door!
Remember, it was Woody Allen who said “80 percent of success is showing up.”
CREATE SOCIAL PRESSURE
Tell your friends about your impending release too – there’s nothing wrong with creating a bit of social pressure to get yourself over those last hurdles. Knowing that your friends are expecting to see it finished soon helps create a bit more pressure.
THINK ABOUT REVENUE
Another big incentive for releasing your app is revenue. Every app studio needs revenue to survive. The longer your app remains in production, the longer it’s not out on the App Store making money. There’s also the chance it could do really well and you could be the next Candy Crush, but you’ll never know until the app is shipped!
Don’t forget about the larger app store industry. Making apps was a gold rush for the first couple years when the app store launched in 2008. As the novelty factor wore off, users started downloading and spending less on apps. Christmas season was traditionally hottest app season of the year, but it’s seen steady decreases in downloads and revenue since 2011. Don’t procrastinate your way out of a viable market!
MAKE TIME FOR THE NEXT PROJECT
Apps also have a way of taking up a lot of the resources of an app studio (well, that’s what an app studio does, after all). But when production drags out, it can waste a lot of time and energy. Keep an eye on the clock and the calendar. It’s not always a great idea to spend too much time on the one project when there are other projects due to be worked on.
Consider the other projects you can’t spend your full time and attention on yet! All your other projects are waiting until this is off your plate. The sooner you can get it shipped and out the door, the sooner you can move on to create the rest of the app catalog that you’ve always dreamed of.
Don’t neglect your other projects. Keep moving.
Don’t forget about the best incentive of all – treats! Think about something you’d like – maybe some extra leisure hours, a nice meal out, or even a Steam gift card…just for you. Don’t go bananas, make sure that whatever you choose as a reward isn’t too expensive – you don’t want to spend your profit before you make it. But a little reward for shipping an entire app, why not? You deserve it!
SET FIRM DEADLINES
Probably the most successful tactic that I’ve ever used is to set a firm deadline and stick to it. Mark it down on your calendar in ink– make it real! This is the day that you are shipping your app! If you have a date set in stone, it’s a lot easier to put in the all-nighters and the extra hours that you need to really finish an app.
If you are working on self-generated projects, it’s so easy to put things off endlessly since there can be no real deadlines. If there is a formal launch date you’ll be sure to get it shipped on time. At the very least, the guilt will eat away at you every day past your ship date until you get it done.
Look to the real world for deadlines. Contests are a great option, as are game conventions, holidays or any kind of time-sensitive event. Pixel Prospector put together a great list of indie game contests- see if there’s one near you to enter!
Laura Tallardy is an app developer from Brooklyn, NY. She has a wide portfolio of children's mobile apps on iOS and Android (mermaids, princesses, ballerinas, and more!) Her apps have been downloaded over a million times, mentioned in the New York Times, the Evening Standard and the Daily Mail. You can check out her apps HERE.