BACK TO ACADEMY
Going from app idea to creation shouldn’t be a painful experience. That’s why an app blueprint is essential to any successful startup's app launch.
What is an app blueprint?
Think of an app blueprint like an architect’s guide to building a new structure. Before the construction work can begin, the architect needs to have a complete and detailed layout. The architect needs to think about big picture issues, like safety hazards, and smaller issues, like wallpaper colors. You will also need to think about all of the possible problems that arise when creating an app.
An app blueprint allows you to address big picture issues, like how this app will create value for users, and smaller issues, like what type of login options to offer, before you sink your time and money into costly features that don’t make sense. Like an architect, app designers and developers need a blueprint to help them think through all possible issues moving forward.
Benefits of app blueprinting:
The early-stages of startups are crucial points of decision, and app blueprints help you pinpoint and address issues earlier in the process rather than later. Having a clear blueprint can make or break your launch.
What About the Costs of Blueprinting?
Blueprinting can be costly, especially for startups, but you need to remember that the benefits exponentially outweigh the costs. It can be tempting to move directly to coding, thereby avoiding the expenses of blueprinting. The cost of developing an app can vary considerably depending on the project but is at least tens to possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars. Spending $5 to $10K on upfront planning and blueprinting might seem like an extra expense, but it will ensure more expensive mistakes don't pop up down the road when you begin spending the bulk of your budget on development.
It does take time and money to go through a blueprinting process, but it'll save you time and money down the road.
Blueprinting is Essential
Creating a blueprint will allow you to articulate a specific budget and plan. Without this detailed itinerary, you risk overspending and sinking your project before it begins. It can be very tempting to jump in and deal with any problems as they arise. But that would be a huge mistake.
Beginning the development phase without a proper budget in place is a costly — and sometimes fatal — error. You need to blueprint so that you can understand how much time, energy, and finances you should be spending on each specific part of your application. It is a waste to spend thousands on a feature that may be a great idea, but has already been done by your competitor and has already been deemed unlikable by users.
Blueprinting is essential because it allows you to carefully plan each step moving forward. A critical part of any project plan is scheduling. You need to have a clear timeline and budget. A schedule allows you to create a more accurate timeline and budget that you can present to investors. The more accurate your blueprint is, the more accurately you’ll be able to project the schedule.
This process is necessary and the benefits far outweigh any initial costs. Blueprinting allows you to pinpoint possible errors before they happen, before you spend hundreds of hours coding a system that just doesn’t make sense and before you make costly errors due to lack of foreplanning and before the tech world loses another innovative startup.
What does the blueprinting process look like?
First, by just deciding to use an app blueprint, you’ve already completed your first smart decision. The next step is simply creating the blueprint. There are two different strategies to creating a blueprint, and you need to figure out which one works best for you. The following are the two strategies for you to consider:
For each of the following steps, you will need to do some significant research. This is another reason why blueprinting is so important in the beginning stages. You should be knowledgeable enough to answer all these key questions before an investor asks you them in a meeting.
This process can be long and time consuming, but it’s crucial. It will unite your team because your team now has proper goals to work towards and a deadline to meet those goals. You won’t have to worry about expensive errors because you have a clear plan that accounts for possible mistakes. There is a decreased chance of unexpected costs due to mistakes, but if a mistake does occur, you can consult your budget and readjust it as needed. And, finally, you have a strong foundational framework that you can present to early investors.
Elizabeth G. Hopta
List of Sources I Read
Note: I did not use all of these sources in the article. This is just a complete list of sources that I consulted and read to learn more about this topic.