You've established a strong concept for your potential future application. A concept that can transform your industry and disrupt the market. So, what comes next? If you are not a developer yourself, you will need to employ someone who is skilled not just in app development but also in all the other aspects of manufacturing and marketing your digital solution. You probably want to get your product out there as soon as possible. After all, you never know when someone else may come up with the same excellent idea as you, and you might lose out on a great opportunity. 

The development of your application does not happen overnight. On the contrary, depending on your product's complexity and scalability, producing a market-ready app might take months or even more. App development entails more than just coding. There are additional elements to consider, such as ideation, product design, technology research, and so on. In this article, we'll go through the elements that could affect your app's development time, as well as provide you with some tips and tricks for preventing unnecessary delays. 

Creating an application entails more than simply coding. 

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding app development is how long it takes to have your app up and running and ready to launch. You could utilize Google's search engine to get an answer to your question, but you won't get a clear response. Instead, you'll most likely come across some broad estimates. So, how long does it take to build an application? 

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Depending on the complexity of the app and the structure of your project, app development might take anywhere from three to nine months, or even longer. Each stage of the operation takes a different amount of time to complete, but the ones that require the most time are as follows: 

  • One or two weeks to conceive the concept and prepare the project brief.
  • Four to five weeks to discuss the concepts with the mobile app developers and design a plan. 
  • Design sprints can last between four and ten weeks. 
  • Technical development and prototyping might take anything from six to twelve weeks. 
  • It might take up to two weeks to get your app into the app stores. 
  • Post-launch support and maintenance might take as long as necessary. 

The ideation phase of your app idea

During the early development phase, your developer gets to know you, your firm, and the industry in which it works. You and your developer normally meet in person or online to discuss your ideas and expectations, and your developer provides you with the information you need before starting the development process. You play an important role in this phase since you are the ultimate expert of your own business and have a great insight into the current difficulties your customers are facing. The more research you've done on the problem, your target consumers, and potential solutions, the sooner you'll be able to start putting your ideas into action. 

The preparation phase

The plan of action is divided into sprints during the planning phase. Each sprint focuses on one or more specific application features that must be built, tested, and changed. The planning phase helps you estimate how long it will take to reach the minimal viable product (MVP). A minimal viable product has just enough functionality to allow early app users to use and test the product and particular new features early in the development process. An MVP may help the development team get useful and viable user feedback as soon as possible so that the product can be iterated and enhanced. 

The first kick-start phase

The kick-start phase focuses on the technological architecture of your digital solution. If you're starting from scratch with no design components, a designer would often start with a wireframe, a user flow, and UI mockups to give you a sense of how your app will appear. This is often done during the initial two-week design sprint and is presented and assessed as a clickable demo or prototype. 

A wireframe is a layout model for an application that illustrates which interface components will appear where on important pages. It's a crucial phase in the design process since it serves as the product's skeleton and the basis for mockups and the final prototype. A mockup is a completed wireframe that includes photos, colors, typography, and any other visual aspects that will appear in the final product. Whereas a mockup is only a visual depiction of your app, a prototype goes a step further by allowing for interaction between the user and the product without requiring a single line of code. Prototypes, also known as clickable demos, are ideal for testing the product before the programming process begins, as well as displaying it in your pitch deck to possible investors or future consumers. 

The phase of technical development and coding

Depending on the complexity of the product and features, the process of creating an MVP typically takes four iterative Scrum sprints (2 weeks per sprint). A sprint is a set amount of time in which a Scrum team works to finish a specified amount of work or a specific feature or capability of a product. Sprints are fundamental to Scrum and agile techniques, and doing sprints right may help a development team deliver a better product with fewer bugs that is tailored to the demands of the end-user. When the MVP is complete, the product is rigorously tested to identify areas for improvement and properly prepare it for a successful launch. The more sprints you conduct to improve the product, the closer it will be to being "market-ready." 

The marketing phase

Your application is being submitted to the Apple App Store and/or the Google Play Store at this point. You may begin analyzing data from your early adopters and optimizing your monetization and growth methods to scale up your app and make it go viral. Your product, which began as a small-scale test environment, will now be exposed to a larger audience. Remember that before you launch your product, you should have a sound go-to-market (GTM) plan in place. A solid GTM strategy is a detailed step-by-step plan outlining how you want to introduce your product to its target buyers. How will you persuade your consumers to install your app once it is available in the app store? What can you do to differentiate your app from its competitors? Simply said, your GTM plan is similar to any other marketing strategy. However, it concentrates only on the process of entering the market and acquiring your initial users, which is typically one of the most challenging aspects of your app's growth. 

How can I prevent delays in development time? 

The vast majority of current mobile development firms are agile, which means they operate in bi-weekly iterative sprints. During these sprints, they update and improve the solution based on feedback from users who tested previous versions. This guarantees that development firms do not squander time and money on building a complete solution at once without obtaining frequent incremental end-user input. 

There are a variety of factors that might cause a development project to take longer than expected. The following are some instances that might cause delays in the app development process: 

1. Unexpected changes 

Customer can change their mind about particular functionality or design features at any time throughout the development process. While testing the product, users may discover something they don't like as much as they imagined, forcing the designer or developer to shift direction. Depending on where the product is in the development process, this might result in a lot of time being squandered on an undesirable feature, and more time being spent on altering that feature. To avoid this, the conception and planning phases are critical to having a clear vision of how the product should look and feel before going into the technical development process. 

2. Integrations with other services

Integrations with third-party services, such as social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram, or payment systems like PayPal, can have a substantial influence on your product's development time. It not only takes time to wait for the third party's approval to utilize their services, but it also results in extra precautions surrounding user data transfers and privacy requirements that must be considered while designing the app and notifying the user about their rights. 

3. Scattered outsourcing 

Outsourcing distinct components of the whole development process to separate parties rather than a single full-service partner can lead to misalignment in product delivery plans. For example, if you decide to divide the design, development, and marketing processes across three distinct companies, keeping communication and workflows as synchronized as feasible among all parties involved presents an additional problem. There is a lot that can go wrong in this process, especially if you are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of project management. In general, it is preferable to outsource the entire process to a single development partner. They are experienced in keeping their departments and tasks linked at all times and will generally assign you a product owner who will oversee the project for you. 

It is critical to plan ahead of time to prevent these scenarios. Having a clear vision of where you want to take your program decreases the likelihood of making impulsive decisions during development. That is why developers must learn about your organization, target audience, existing challenges, and potential solutions. In this manner, your development partner can guarantee that the right technologies are being used and that the most important features are prioritized. 

Choosing the best developer for your project 

Finding the proper application development partner with the expertise, talent, and knowledge to complete the development process from start to finish in a reasonable period of time is probably the best approach to saving time on the development process without sacrificing product quality. Not sure where to begin? As someone with minimal experience in the realm of app development, it's a good idea to begin by becoming acquainted with app development in general and the communities that surround it. Getting in contact with the developer community may be advantageous, whether you are a developer yourself or just want to recruit specialists in the sector. When you know what sort of expertise and talents your development partner needs to build your digital solution from the ground up, it will be much easier to begin your search and avoid spending time contacting unworthy partners. 

Once you've determined what you're searching for, you can begin your search for the ideal development partner. Exploring several software provider review platforms is an excellent approach to accomplish this. On these sites, you'll often find a detailed description of the developer, as well as a portfolio and useful client feedback. In this case, you should hunt for past clients who have an app identical to the one you want to build. This might be a customer from the same sector or a product with comparable capabilities and features. 


So, how much time does it take to develop an app? That is determined by the intricacy of your product and the efficiency with which the project is outsourced. A basic program will take no more than two or three months to build, but a sophisticated application with links to third-party services and other time-consuming features may take more than a year to finish. And developing a simple app with the wrong development partner and no concrete preparation work can have a significant impact on development time and cause a significant dent in your budget, whereas developing a complex app with the right partner can greatly speed up the process and save you unnecessary expenses in the end. Simply said, the necessary planning and the suitable development partner will determine your product's final development time. 

Lotte Cleffken
Content writer and digital marketing strategist
Lizard Global
Lotte works as a content writer and digital marketing strategist at Lizard Global, a full-stack mobile app and web app development firm formed in 2012 with offices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

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Mobile Application Development Process and Time