FrontPocket Foundation

A road-tested methodical approach tailored to building and growing your mobile app platform

Building, launching, and supporting a mobile app platform is a long but very exciting journey.

 

There’s a product roadmap, your team has worked hard to refine it, outlined target users, and have penciled in people to bring it from paper to launch.

 

You have a budget and have found an agency/outsource/or freelance team you’re interested in working with over the next few months, to create an experience reflecting your brand.

 

The general conversation may sound something like this:

 

You: “I’m interested in your team designing and developing our app.”
External Team: “Sure thing, let’s catch up, we’ll first work through design, and then focus on development”
{{ after first design iteration }}
You: “These designs are looking great, we feel very confident to proceed.”
External Team: “Great! We’ll task the developers to build the app, and chat over progress milestones”
{{ after final milestone }}
External Team: “Here’s the final version of the app. User Acceptance Testing begins today for the next week, where we will catch up then to implement any final changes before project completion”
{{ after UAT }}
You: “How come the app doesn’t run smoothly on my (three-four year old) phone?”
You: “X does not really fit well on this screen, we would like to move it to the next one”
You: “Can we please add in this additional feature change before Y happens”
External Team: “We’ll look into performance improvements. X and Y are do-able but are out of scope. App launch will be delayed by a further two-to-three weeks”

 

You’ve put in a lot of effort to get to this point, and this looks like a fairly standard engagement to launch your platform.

 
 

Why fix a process that isn’t broken?

You get your app platform, the external team gets their slice of your budget. Smiles all around. Project completed.

 

The above approach seems fairly acceptable.. right?

 

On the surface this may appear so, technically you’ve finally got what you’ve waited so long for, your own little baby that you’re ready to start marketing the complete hell out of. But what happens next?

 

What if you need to make some further feature changes a handful, or 10, months down the track? How do you find out if your users are enjoying the app, or even if they’re having problems with it?

 

Over the course of the engagement, you’ve let external factors slowly steer your ship away from your control, once it has set sail from the design studio dock. You’ve assumed you’ll get a high quality sustainable and feature-scalable platform, that won’t be hard to add new features and refine existing features.

 

These assumptions allow for loose-expectations, potential product delays, and a choppy launch, amongst a list of other hidden costs below;
  • Design’s you’ve spent plenty of time refining were actually difficult to engineer, because there wasn’t a design-develop loop in place by that external team from the beginning, resulting in risk and delayed turnarounds, and a platform that’s hard to work with.
  • No transparency around how scalable particular features will be. This obfuscates the boundaries of iterating against a feature, setting expectations that are hard to meet.
  • Development is focused around “big milestones”. Long periods of radio silence between yourself and the external team. Large quantity of features built and delivered in one go. Where is the test-feedback loop?
  • No discussion around platform expectations and sustainability. Reasonable ROI? What happens after 6 months, or the first 12? How will you tackle the ongoing cost of technical debt facing your platform after Day 1 of launch?
  • Limited observation of qualitative information such as user engagement and platform health? You cannot measure or plan against what you don’t observe.
  • No strategy to market to organic mobile channels. Marketing your platform through general channels such as social media are great, but only go so far with boosting your platforms visibility. You miss out on a large chunk of pot.

 

Most importantly, 6-12 months down the track after halting working on your platform, and you are interested in continuing on, the last thing you want to hear (which is quite common) is:

“It is very difficult to add new features to your platform”

 

“We’ll either need to spend quite a bit of time patching it up, or if not feasible, starting over unfortunately..”
This will leave you in a bad space of frustration, having allocated the next budget to accomodate for changes that won’t influence ROI, with long delays before you can start making changes that will influence ROI.

 

You deserved better, as well as your team and users, but the great news is that this path can be entirely avoided! Introducing FrontPocket Foundation, a holistic approach to create, maintain, and grow your mobile app platform.

 

Bringing Back The Camaraderie

Together we’ll work through the vision for your platform, establish a roadmap and strategy circumventing the hidden costs mentioned earlier, put it into practice, and lay out next steps at the end of our time together. Foundation could well be the kick in the pants your product needs, to make sure things flow smoothly, and enable your team to have an impact during platform development.

 

You will work directly with us at each step of of the process, instead of developers who bill you hundreds of dollars per hour to learn on the job, where we’ll aim to best improve your platforms chance of success, instead of delivering just another project. You’ll also learn valuable lessons, patterns, and strategies which we’ve observed and have tested across other previous engagements.

 

Couldn’t I just hire somebody, instead?

For ongoing work, sure – but for something this substantial, you’ll need more muscle. If you have existing designers or backend developers on your team, we’re happy to work with them over the course of our engagement.

 

Here’s how things will look.

 

In Practice

Month 1: Review, Strategy, Roadmap
We’ll tease out the current state of your product and platform expectations to begin our kickoff, so we’re on the same page about the challenges ahead.

 

We’ll create a roadmap for you covering the length of our engagement, and put together a strategy document that covers the technical and design challenges facing your platform, detailing the execution strategy we decide to move with to get things started. It will also cover the necessary steps to get us from where we’re at now to the launch phase, highlighting the most challenging goals along the way.

 

Months 2 through 4: Execution
Each month we’ll provide you with a deliverable focused around validating some form of product goal outlined in the roadmap. We’ll first focus on your platform of choice (iOS or Android), refine and optimise for it, then circle back later to the remaining platform ahead of launch. We’ll use whatever tools are at our disposal to bring you the value your platform deserves.

 

We justify all our work with a series of strategic decisions at the beginning of each stage, and at the end, we’ll discuss the ramifications of our decisions for your platform.

 

Month 5: Launch & Next Steps
Finally, we’ll compile our work into a final deliverable, and create an action plan for launching, including recommendations on how to approach the post-release stage and responsibilities you need to consider moving forward.

 

Why five months?

Some platforms may have a narrower scope and may take less time to work through, but a five month baseline allows you to do this right the first time.

 

We’ll understand your team on a deeper level, and be able to wrap our heads around your needs. And during our engagement, you’ll have unlimited access to us during FrontPocket’s business hours, allowing us to get the results you need.

 

In short, if you’re looking for an immediate change and turnaround, FrontPocket Foundation may not be the service for you. Taking a holistic approach to create a reliable platform takes time.

 

Fringe Benefits working with us!

At the beginning of our engagement, we’ll set up a private Slack channel for you and up to 3 other team members, as well as a Trello organisation where we can keep a record of our work.

 

It’s entirely possible we’ll also encounter things outside the scope of FrontPocket Foundation. Fortunately, we know a lot of talented, awesome consultants who can get us across the finish line.

 
 

Who isn’t this good for?

  • You already have a mobile team
    • In this case we’d suspect they’re capable of making quite similar decisions. That said, if you have mobile designers in-house, we work more on the under-the-hood functional improvements, and would probably still be a good fit.
  • Your business makes less than $300,000 a year
    • Why? Because FrontPocket Foundation’s fees are too high to justify a commensurate return in value – and we want this to generate a bonkers ROI for everyone we choose to work with. If you’re a smaller company, you should hire junior-level mobile developers, not someone of our caliber

Lock in a Private Consultation

We’re looking for the best clients to have a great relationship with. If our mindset to help you get the best out of your platform resonates, we would love to hear from you. Punch in your details, and a description of what you’re looking to achieve. We’ll get back to you with a few questions to see if we can help you.