Why Mobile App Projects Fail — and How to Make Sure They Succeed

Why mobile app projects fail: It's not necessarily due to resources. More often, it's that the process for building mobile apps is built for failure.

Why mobile app projects fail: It’s not necessarily due to resources. More often, it’s that the process for building mobile apps is built for failure.

Sad but true: Many projects for building mobile apps fail, and the cause isn’t that companies don’t have sufficient resources. It’s that their process for building mobile apps is essentially built for failure. So concludes a survey from IDG, Top CIO Challenges that Contribute to Enterprise Application Failure. Following is an explanation of why mobile apps fail – and what companies can do to make sure they succeed.

Why Mobile Apps Fail

The survey makes clear that mobile apps are high on enterprises’ must-do lists: Seventy five percent of executives surveyed said mobility is a moderate, high, or critical priority for their organizations. Not surprisingly, 60% of the executives says that usability is key to the success of mobile apps. In addition, 42% of respondents in large organizations say that a good user experience is a major contributor to whether a mobile app is adopted by people in their organization.

Simply accomplishing an objective is no longer enough. Now user experience and ease of use are also critical for success.”

The survey notes that “With the consumerization of IT and the increase in mobile computing, the user is much more critical to the development process. Ten years ago, a poor user experience wouldn’t doom a project. As long as the application did what it was supposed to do, it was considered a success.”

That’s no longer the case, though, because the survey found that “Internal and external users of applications have very high expectations for usability and functionality. Simply accomplishing an objective is no longer enough. Now user experience and ease of use are also critical for success.”

Despite all that, the survey found that 40% of companies surveyed “have no process in place for functional usability testing.” Given that, it should be no surprise that nearly half of the executives surveyed said that at least 50% of their software projects, including mobile apps, fail — they are either over budget, late, don’t meet expectations or need to be reworked.

Nearly half of the executives surveyed said that at least 50% of their software projects, including mobile apps, fail — they are either over budget, late, don’t meet expectations or need to be reworked.”

Solving Mobile App Development Woes

What can enterprises do to make sure their mobile app development efforts succeed? Start with aligning business needs with the development process, the survey recommends. Business stakeholders must be involved from the beginning, and clearly explain their needs and requirements. Once that’s done, they should be involved early on in testing the application to make sure it does what they need it to do.

Next, CIOs must “prioritize the project timeline and determine which applications are business critical.” Not uncommonly, CIOs are in charge of hundreds of projects. They have a hard time vetting bad ideas early on, and prioritizing the most important projects. The answer: Better communication with business teams. If business stakeholders more clearly communicate what’s most important to them, CIOs can more easily make the right decisions.

The survey has many more recommendations, advice, and findings. To read it, click here.

A key part of the success of any mobile project is finding the right tools to build an app. To see how Alpha Anywhere makes it easy to build mobile and web apps fast, and iterate them quickly in response to feedback, click here.