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The Art of Startup: An Overview of App Development Stages

SpdLoad prepared an in-depth guide about the stages of app development

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Developing an app can be a bit overwhelming.

As experienced mobile app developers, we can say that it is not as easy as it looks.

The success of an application is not just based on an idea.

It also depends on the execution.

If things were made only on the basis of ideas, then we would have already been living in a world dominated by robots and machines.

But that is not the case or is it?

Having said that, any application is not an overnight project.

It takes time, effort, and perseverance.

It is important to cover all the stages of app development.

Yes, there are several stages of developing an app.

Spoiler alert, application development does not begin from the developing stage.

There are several prerequisites in the form of business-oriented mobile app development stages.

As a beginner, founder, or a new entrant in the world of startups, it is essential to understand the application development stages.

Always remember that application development stages and processes are not linear.

There are some requirements before you choose a team and before you start the actual development process.

The preliminary stages of application development involve:

  • Ideation
  • Validation

Once you have zeroed in on your idea, begin choosing the team followed by the core stages of developing an app.

There are four stages of app development:

  1. Discovery Stage
  2. Planning
  3. Development
  4. Testing

Let’s talk about them one by one and understand what comprises the mobile app development stages.

Read More About Development Cost

How much does it cost to make an app from scratch? What do affect the final cost? Check our in-depth guide to find out more.

Read More

Stage 0: Before Finding a Team

This is the part where you transform from a thinker to a doer by first structuring your idea and then validating it.

Is idea validation a part of the stages of successful app development? Isn’t it like diverting from the path?

Not really.

Your idea is not just a concept or a method to earn.

That is why it is essential to follow the right path with application development steps and stages.

Ideas find success when they provide solutions to problems.

Uber’s founder created the app because he could not find a cab on-demand.

Look where Uber stands today.

Postmates founders created the app in 2011 to eat a hotdog and there was no delivery service for hotdogs.

These founders saw a problem, and they gave a solution.

They understood the importance of this part in application creation or development stages, but it was not easy for them.

Of course, they had to go through a long journey filled with unprecedented trials.

The best part about going through our take on stages of developing an amazing app is that you can save yourselves from all that trouble.

Because it is not about how hard you hit, but you have hit right to make it work.

1. Ideation

Ideation is at the beginning of the stages of developing an application.

You have an idea, but it is essential to give it the right shape.

Keep two things in mind with ideation:

  • Your customers (who need a solution)
  • Your product (the actual solution)

The customers come first because your product should adapt to their needs and not the other way around.

In this part, we recommend you first learn about the user’s needs.

Get their feedback vis-à-vis your idea and change to optimize the final product as per the customer’s preferences.

Yes, this will involve creating a draft of your idea, dropping it, changing a few things, or even starting everything from scratch.

But you cannot and you should not rush with this part of the app development stages.

Because everything that you do ahead the application-oriented development stages in the following steps is connected to this one idea.

Being an entrepreneur or dreaming to be one has its risks.

Everything in the mobile app development stages begins with your idea.

That is why while forming your idea, take care of a few things:

  • Choose the people to share your idea with wisely.
  • Don’t overdo yourself and get carried away.
The ideation is a basic step in application development stages

2. Idea Validation

Ideation is all about getting the right idea. The next part in the stages of application development.

But validation is all about checking the viability of the idea or solution.

Here you need to ask and find valid proof regarding your solution.

Until now, you have an idea or a probable solution.

But with validation, you will have a product.

And that is why it is important to cover these mobile app development stages.

These stage-wise steps will help you answer two major application development questions:

  1. Whether the product has value and the right market?
  2. Will you be able to sell the product?

You cannot expect everyone to buy your product, and you also cannot make a product that is good for everyone.

There is always an ideal customer for whom your product will be a great asset and he/she won’t think twice before paying for it.

Why do you think OTT platforms have seen such brilliant success?

Because they deliver a service which people need.

They are providing content when and where they need it and they are ready to pay for it.

It is not only about access, but the way of accessing the service. Their freedom and a will to get what they want.

This completes the coding part of the mobile app development stages.

But this was only an overview. This segment of the stages of making or developing an app has a lot more you can learn from.  (Follow our guide on how to start a startup from scratch to know more)

Ok, now that you have your idea, go find a team and continue with the rest of the part of the guide.

After selecting the team to work on the stages or aspects of app development, we will move on to product discovery.

Idea validation is also an important part of stages of developing an app

The Stage of Design and Development

This is the core of the application development stages.

Starting with the discovery, we will end this part of the stages of developing or making an app with testing.

In this part of the stages of developing an app, you need to:

  • Define what you want with reference to your app
  • What sort of product do you want to create?
  • For whom is this solution?
  • Why do you want to make it?

Product discovery is your chance to know, formulate, and envision everything you need or can about your product.

With this exercise, you must be able to get answers to:

  • Your target audience and build the customer persona based on the buyer’s journey.
  • What is the core problem and how your product can solve it? (This will become your USP too and omnipresent in the pitch deck.)
  • Describe the user experience
  • Make a list of features while prioritizing them
  • Plan out the minimum viable product (MVP).

Among the stages of app development, the product discovery phase is divided into four parts.

You will find some examples of SRS and prototypes in our product discovery guide.

Discovery Step Importance and Benefit
Creation of SRS The SRS or Software Requirements Specification is a formal document describing what the solution will do.

We need to create this before the application development stages as it helps share the common ideas with the developers.

An SRS document is good to find out the;

  • Purpose of development
  • Getting an overview of the product
  • Specific requirements of the software

More important, before moving ahead with the stages of developing an efficient app, it is better to know how it will interact within and outside the environment.

Prototype Creation Prototypes are one of the most important stages of developing an app.

It is essential to understand what the application will look like.

To deliver the design-related stages of app development, you can use ready-to-use design software.

These design platforms are also easier to use.

Not only for the visuals, but prototypes also help with;

  • Creation of User journey maps
  • Gives a headway for wireframes
  • Helps create better designs (UI)

So, while working on the pre-coding app development stages, it is essential to take care of these aspects.

The importance of user maps is realized when a user is able to finish the task with fewer steps.

Why do you think that apps provide one-click sign up?

To make things easier for the users.

Also, have you noticed that some applications place the main or most used option within the thumb’s approach?

This enables one-hand operation.

So, while creating prototypes, take care of these aspects in the application development stages.

The motive of these analytical steps in mobile app development stages is to produce a better user experience with an attractive UI.

UI Design User Interface design, as the name suggests, is the visual side of any application.

It is all about how the solution looks to the users.

We have earlier talked about identifying your core customers within the app development stages.

The motive of such exercise is to find the ideal customer.

Once you have a customer segment, it is time to create a solution that conforms to their perspectives.

To deliver an appealing solution, work UI design.

Include aspects like;

  • Style guide
  • Motion design
  • Color
  • Typography
  • Themes

Designing is only a part of the first of the four stages of developing or creating an app.

Always keep one thing in mind;

Deliver seamless and effortless user experiences.

Because as long as the users are not benefiting from their engagement with your product, they won’t continue to use it further.

Also, don’t hesitate to make changes or edits frequently.

The opportunity cost of not adhering to the best and intuitive experiences will not be in your favor.

Just like all the other stages of developing an amazing app, the product discovery phase requires iteration.

You may need to go back and forth with these development and design stages of the application.

Before we move ahead with other stages of application development, always monitor the cost of app design.

There can be multiple iterations and reworks required to get the right product.

So don’t get discouraged.

You (founder) and the design team may need to talk a lot about these aspects.

Within these, make sure not to miss out on validating the user experiences.

Because once everything is finalized changing all these aspects will cost you time and more money.

These stages of application development are not granular like coding.

Here everything is connected to each other.

Like, changing the color of the homepage may lead to making changes in other pages and the typography, font, etc.

So, the goal should be to provide something new and better to the users.

The discovery phase is a must have for app development stages

Planning Stage

Ok, this is the last part before moving to the coding part of the app development stages.

Often, the development guys you will hire will be pre-decided on these things.

But, if you want to know everything about mobile app development stages, know these too.

After designing, it is the technical aspects that you need to look at.

This includes:

There aren’t great differences among the development community when it comes to choosing the tech stack.

We will list out the tech stacks for two types of digital solutions:

  • Web development
  • Mobile development

Even though the article talks about mobile app development stages, talking about web development helps understand the differences.

Requirement Technology to be Used
Server Mobile and Web: NGiNX
Framework Mobile and Web: Laravel
Database Mobile and Web: MySQL/Redis
Hosting Mobile and Web: AWS/VULTR
Development Platform Mobile (Cross-Platform): React/Flutter

Web (Libraries): Vue.Js/React

Language Web: CSS3/JS/HTML5

Mobile: iOS – Objective-C/Swift

Mobile: Android – Java/Kotlin

The previous parts of the app development stages were about what to make.

The planning mobile app development stage talks about how to make it.

Followed by the tech stack, it is better to get down to cost estimation.

Yes, there is no direct answer to this question.

We cannot decide the cost of app development based on the limited information provided app development stages.

The cost of app development depends on the integrated aspects of all the stages.

For instance, the design and development costs will depend on features and complexity.

Furthermore, before designing, the time taken for validation and the post-development testing also matters.

There are a lot of variables in this part of the app development stages.

Given below is a price estimate of app development.

Development Aspect Hours Required
Documentation, Validation, Discovery 40
UI/UX Design 80
Development 600
Project Management 80
Testing and QA 80
Total Hours 880

This time estimation is for a fitness app.

The cost of developing an app also depends on the team you choose to work on the project.

A developer from the US will charge more than $125 per hour and the same from Ukraine will charge $35 per hour.

This is where you can make a real difference.

Hiring a developer from the US to work for 880 hours will cost you $110,000.

However, if you hire one from Ukraine, the cost will be $30,800.

See the difference? (You can try to calculate it yourself with our developers’ salary calculator)

So, hire the developers and other requisite professionals for other mobile app development stages with this approach in mind.

The last stages of mobile app development in planning is setting milestones and a deadline.

Ask the developers and designers to give you a timeline for project completion.

This will help you draft the post-development strategy and get working on the marketing.

With this, we complete the second pre-development application development stages.

The planning phase is required in mobile app development stages


Isn’t this what you were waiting for in the stages of building or developing an app.

This is where you transform your product from paper to practice.

Until now, we have gathered the ammunition.

You have the team, development tools, audience, idea, and feasibility reports.

In this part of the app development stages, we will talk about the different steps in brief.

If you are new to the development, which we think you are, then you should know about the development sprints.

This is related to the agile development methodology.

The developers basically divide the development part into different stages.

There is no doubt that these are the vital mobile app development stages.

As a client, ask for complete transparency while the work is going on.

It is important for you to know what is going on in each of these stages or steps of app development.

If the development team has a project manager, ask them to give you regular updates.

There are two main aspects of coding:

  • Frontend
  • Backend

The front end or client-side is the part where the developers build the interface.

They are supposed to add visual elements and make it more attractive.

Development Aspects Description
Backend The backend is the support structure of the application.

There are three parts of backend operations;

  • Server
  • Application/Framework
  • Database

This involves writing the codes of APIs, databases, and creating libraries.

All these processes are conducted on their specific technologies.

Refer to the tech stack we have covered above in the stages of developing an efficient app.

Out of the two types of backend application development stages language, go for the functional languages.

The functional languages are action-based.

These languages are declarative implying that the codes and statements can be executed in any order.

Frontend The frontend is the client-side structure and involves functions that directly relate to how a user sees your application.

The front end development is where you need to be selective.

With different mobile platforms, you need to choose different technologies.

You can refer to the tech stack given above.

Out of all the application development stages, you will find that both backend and frontend take the most time.

Hence, they take up the highest share of the cost too.

Along with this, the developers need to use SDKs (software development kits) to optimize the work.

Creating designs on paper or online tools is a part of the design and comes under UI/UX.

But in this segment of stages of app development, those designs are created from scratch.

Some online tools provide easy handoff that further helps the developers produce the design exactly.

The relationship between frontend and backend is rather important.

These two aspects of app development stages is the aspect where you can incite a big difference in the cost.

We recommend that you work with agile app development stages.

There are four major benefits of agile methodology in all the stages of developing an app:

  • Flexibility in planning
  • Progressive application development
  • Efficient and quick deployment
  • Constant improvements

Based on these aspects, we can slide to the last stages of application development, testing.

Development is the core of stages of app development

Test Stage

The reason behind hiring a quality assurance team and testing the app is manifold.

Think about it.

Would anyone like to use a buggy app?

Why would the users engage with your product when you are not providing an excellent product?

So, the QA and testing teams make sure that the application:

  • Is running properly
  • Does not lag
  • Has an intuitive interface
  • Has no drawbacks

There are two testing stages of app development:

  1. Core Testing
  2. On-Demand Testing

Testing, without a doubt, is one of the most important stages or steps of developing an app.

Also, it is better to test early.

Postponing the tests and the testing costs are proportional to each other.

The more you delay, the higher will be the cost of the exercise.

Within these two testing mobile app development stages, there are five exercises.

A Brief Look at Core Testing

Type of Test What, Why, and How?
Device Testing Mobile app testing is much more intricate and diversified than web app testing.

There are several kinds of mobile devices and their hardware plus firmware is updated regularly.

In device testing, the professionals check the compatibility of your app with the different versions of mobile devices’ OS and hardware.

For Android device, we can use Over the Air installs

For iOS devices we use TestFlight.

Usability Testing Usability testing, as the name suggests, is how the app works.

In this segment of stages of a successful app development, users are assigned to engage with the app and record their experiences.

There are two major reasons for usability testing;

  • Check the user-friendliness of the solution
  • Understand whether the application can support the brand’s marketing objectives

The testing team ensures that the solution is adding value to your business and meets the end-user expectations.

Functional Testing Usability and functionality are not similar.

All throughout the stages of all development, we inculcate the principles of functionality.

Usability checks whether the app is working as per the user’s expectation.

But functionality testing is to check whether the app is working as it should.

There is a thin line difference between them.

While conducting the functionality tests create real end-user conditions.

In simple terms, this will be a raincheck of all the mobile app development stages discussed above.

If a button is intended to open the login, it should open the login page.

A Brief Look at On-Demand Testing

Type of Test What, Why, and How?
Performance Testing This test is all about knowing how the app performs holistically.

Where other tests are inclined towards the user’s perspective.

The performance test sequence checks the overall application aspects.

  • Response to user requests
  • Screen load time
  • Battery usage and optimization
  • Bandwidth usage
  • Size of the application
  • Load time with concurrent users
  • API functioning

This test is about checking the tenacity of every minor to a major aspect of the application.

The servers, network requirements, software and hardware compatibility, etc.

At the end of the functionality testing stage of developing an app, check that the product loads and performs even when the user demand spikes.

Security Testing You cannot skip this part of the app development stages.

Security of the product is vital because any inefficiencies have a direct impact on the end-user and your brand’s reputation.

It is not optional.

To speed up the process, use automated tools.

The automated security systems plug directly into the CI/CD toolchain of the application.

While creating the application, always take care of the guidelines set by the authorities.

Deployment and Maintenance

After completing the testing stages of developing an app, it is ready to be published.

Depending on the store where you will deploy the application, run some final checks.

The process to upload the application on Google Play Store and App Store is different.

In this part of the stages of mobile app development, we will briefly talk about the process to deploy on each platform.

Platform Deployment Requirements
Google Play Store Google Play focuses more on the marketing material for your application.

It asks for pictures, videos, and other promotional material.

Added to this, you need to set the configuration options and provide privacy policies.

Then you have to set the access rights and pricing.

In the last steps, go for continuous deployment configuration and publishing the app release version.

iOS – App Store Start by filling in the app’s information on the provided form.

This includes the product page, name, icon, description, keywords, and privacy policy.

With the App store, you need to submit the app build with Xcode.

It is an inbuilt system with the App Store that they will test the product with Testflight.

Due to the closed environment followed by Apple, the company employees will test your application before making it live on the platform.

Now that we are reaching the end of the app development stages, one thing is left to be discussed.

This involves working on the code after launching the MVP and working on the marketing.

The Final Stage: After Launching the MVP

This is what you must do after completing all the mobile app development stages.

Post the launch, your Minimum Viable Product, or a full-scaled app will undergo the ultimate test, the users.

They will send feedback or share their experiences.

Do not ignore them.

Irrespective of the type of review, read it carefully and observe what the users like and what they are not very fond of.

Identify these aspects and implement them in your application.

This is what you can call post-development iterations.

Even though these steps come after completing the stages of Android or iOS app development, it is good to mention them briefly.

Because as a founder, you need to scale your app.

So, as per the user response, work on improving the app and adding more relevant features. And these improvements will increase the cost of MVP development as well as the cost of MVP design.

The MVP version is the most basic functional configuration.

With the MVP application development stages, we tend not to focus too much on advanced functionalities.

But once your MVP version has got enough attention, it is time to take it to the next level.


There are two key areas when you need to resort to startup marketing.

Once during the initial stages of creating or developing an app (planning).

The marketing ideas and efforts during the planning stages of app development is more about identifying the product/market fitness.

The post-development efforts of your marketing department are about making sure users get to know about your product.

Marketing involves working on PPC campaigns, blogs, PRs, social media advertisements, and so on.

Here, remember to include only those marketing platforms which are used by your users.

The earlier cost discussion was only about the core stages of developing an app.

But, if we include iterations and marketing, the final cost can increase further.

So, we need to find how much does it cost to build an app inclusive of all the aspects.

Marketing is rarely including in application development stages, however it is also the core activity

Interested to Build your Own App?

Well, if you are then we can help you with everything and help you take your app from plinth to paramount.

After going through the article you must have understood that we have experience in app development.

SpdLoad stands with its clients throughout all the stages of app development.

Our product discovery and validations are adept in judging your ideas based on a diverse set of parameters.

It is our prerogative to help you follow your dreams and help you make a beautiful and performant product.

Our developers can work with any sort of app development technology and cover the steps of these stages perfectly.

To know more about our execution of app development stages and how we can help build a successful product, contact us.

Read More About Development Cost

How much does it cost to make an app from scratch? What do affect the final cost? Check our in-depth guide to find out more.

Read More

Read More

Check our in-depth guide on app development cost

Read More

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Posted by

Max Babych

Max Babych

I am CEO of SpdLoad

I launched SpdLoad almost 7 years ago and now it has 20+ successful products in SaaS and Marketplace industry and several own products. I am an expert in Marketing, Lean Methodology and Customer Development approach.

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