Stages of App Development

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Valentin Wolf/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock (9433335a) Smartphone screen with Instagram app icon in detail VARIOUS

To understand what the app development process involves, you need to understand how the software is conceptualized, developed, and maintained. This process is known as the app software development lifecycle. There are seven crucial elements when it comes to an understanding of the app development process:

  1. Planning
  2. Analysis
  3. Design
  4. Implementation
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Maintenance

The app development process starts with the client. She’s the person that has the business idea for the application and the money to get it started. Therefore, she will reach out to multiple app development companies until she finds one that she likes. Then, she’s going to meet with the product manager, and they’ll discuss terms of their agreement. This will move us into the first step of the app development process.


Together, the client and the product manager will outline the requirements of the application. For example, let’s say that the requirements that they have both agreed upon are as follows:

  1. User registration
  2. Login
  3. Logout
  4. Dashboard landing page

Throughout this process, the two will be running multiple iterations, with new requirements and features. Now that the client and the project manager have the outlined requirements, they move onto the analysis step.


A team of developers, operations, testers, and the project manager will meet up in an office for an extended period to define each requirement and give more planning details. Let’s use the user registration as an example. For user registration, the analysis team will determine:

  1. Username input field
  2. Password field
  3. Terms and conditions
  4. Submit button
  5. Save user in the database

Once all the requirements have been analyzed by the team and defined, the project owner will take all the conditions and create tickets in a project management system.


The design phase encompasses the requirements and starts to plan the application. The design process may include:

  1. Business rules
  2. User interface layout
  3. Color schemes
  4. Programming languages
  5. Frameworks
  6. System server design
  7. Database relationships
  8. The architecture of the application
  9. Mobile aspects
  10. Supported browsers


The implementation and coding phase is where the fun begins. The operations team will begin to set up the physical hardware of the servers. The developers will start writing the code. The designers will continue to work on the user interface. Then, the testers will begin to analyze the requirements and start building test cases for their test plans. Even in this stage, testers are extremely valuable. They start to envision the usability of the application and see how everything flows together. Sometimes while writing test cases, they will discover things that don’t make sense and will assist in redesigning fundamental flaws in the early application development.


Why is the testing phase so essential? Imagine the developer has finished coding some of the new features and requirements, and you found out that when the users log out, it’s not clearing the session browser, and that another person walks up to their computer and logs back in. Therefore, they will have access to their account, all their money, and make payments on various websites. This would result in a huge and expensive bug that could be released if you didn’t have testers to figure out these issues.

So, what does the tester do? Now that you have the servers all set up and the developers have finished coding and given an application that you can log into. The testers can start testing and executing the test cases they created earlier in the process. They will validate that all the requirements have been met. They will also make sure that all the functionalities are working as expected. These will include color schemes, any buggy issues, and people logging in and out safely. There are a lot of mistakes that developers can make, so the testers must be there to ensure everything runs smoothly across all platforms and devices.


During the deployment phase, the operations team will end up near the staging or developing environment systems that the app has been tested in and prepare them for production. This means they will install new hardware or brand new servers that have everything scaleable for production. This includes:

  1. Setting up links
  2. Setting up the databases
  3. Syncing up with the development team and release managers

Once they have completed all of these steps, the application will go live to real users.


Imagine that your application has been released, and it became so popular that you’re getting millions of users logging in. You will need to maintain servers in the environment to monitor the load, stress, and everything coming in on the servers. They might need to make larger servers or databases. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on during the maintenance process.

Frequently, users will email support with their problems, and you can stop and investigate what they are concerned about. You can then figure it out, write up a bug, get it resolved, and do another deployment to production.

In Summary

We have gone over planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance. It’s important to remember that new features will come through and restart the whole process once you’re in the maintenance phase. At this stage, you will be able to add any updates or new features to your application. It’s also important to choose the right company that understands the stages of app development.