One of the last questions we hear when people are thinking of working with us is – what happens after we release the app? With so much emphasis on getting a product to market, the aftermath can become an afterthought. Here are three big questions to cover in your post-launch plan.
Getting a product launched is tough going, and the work doesn’t stop there! Before you hit ‘go’, you need to work out how you’ll fix your bugs, what it’ll cost to keep running and how you’ll respond to feedback.
Here are three important questions to discuss with your technical partner before you launch.
1. What happens if there’s a bug?
Let’s face it, no matter how much we test our code, sometimes small bugs slip through. We’ve been doing this for long enough now that they’re usually not big ones, but they’re bugs nonetheless.
‘A feature or structural bug should be the responsibility of your developers.’
I can’t speak for all technical partners, but I think it’s important that partners fix bugs for free if they arise. A feature or structural bug should be the responsibility of your tech partner – if they know they’ll have to fix bugs for free, you know they’ll do everything possible to launch without any bugs.
If your tech partner doesn’t fix for free, at the very least you need a solid agreement about how much a fix will cost you and how soon they can turn things around.
You should also ask your tech partner what raft of tools they’ll be using to monitor the health of your application. From automatic bug reporting to analysing server performance, we always install this software for our clients. It helps us keep an eye on things and ensures we become aware of problems as soon as possible.
2. What will be the cost of running my app?
The ongoing cost of your app will very much depend on whether you need to pay for hosting and retain your tech partner for continuous support.
If your app is a web application (accessible on desktop and mobile via the web browser), you will need to budget for hosting it.
The cost depends greatly on the hosting provider and your needs in terms of scalability. Your code will be hosted on your provider servers’ and we tend to recommend Heroku as a hosting provider for startups.
It may not be the cheapest option available, but since Heroku look after security and day-to-day server maintenance, you won’t have to pay your tech partner to look after the servers. In the long run, you’ll find yourself saving quite a bit of money.
At CookiesHQ, we don’t surcharge hosting price – this means that your hosting provider will bill you directly and we don’t apply any fees on top of that cost.
If you choose Heroku, a safe estimation of your monthly hosting costs is around $200 (approx £150 at the time of writing) per month.
‘It’s important to get a good grasp of how your technical partner works, or you’ll be frustrated by slow progress.’
We’ve already talked free bug fixes, but what about small support requests such as tiny changes to the application?
Small changes such as replacing text or imagery and minor feature adjustments usually only require an hour or two of our attention. So rather than making you wait until you have enough requests to bundle them into a whole day of work, we offer a credit-based support contract.
Our clients essentially pre-pay for 10 hour-long chunks of work – when you need a small change made, we deduct the time it takes from your hourly credit.
Other tech agencies may work differently to us, offering only day or half-day long chunks of time. It’s important to get a good grasp of how your tech partner works before signing with them, or you may find yourself frustrated by slow progress post-launch.
We offer our credit system to both new and existing projects in need of a technical partner – please get in touch with us for an estimate.
3. How should I respond to user feedback?
As soon as your customers start to use your application, there will inevitably be demand for more… more features, more functionality within existing features and sometimes more clarity or guidance on how to interact with those features.
‘A good technical agency will help you choose the features your MVP needs to validate your market demand.’
It’s important not to get overwhelmed or start jumping on every change requested by individual users. Collect all of the feedback and take a step back before making any decisions.
This is where having a tech partner by your side comes in handy. A good technical agency will have helped you choose the minimum number of features your MVP needs to validate your market demand. They’ll also have ensured that your budget can accommodate for reacting to user feedback.
Your tech partner should sit down with you immediately after launch and at regular intervals to help you triage your feedback. Together, you’ll identify quick wins, ideas that need exploring further and those that might not be in the pipeline for today (but need to be planned for in the codebase).
They’ll help you identify genuine needs and implement what makes sense 1. for the majority of your users and 2. for your business. A partner that understands your business can help you stay focused on what you wanted to achieve in the first place.
…. What’s left for me to do then?
Only everything else!
Now you know that your app is launched, you’re responsible for getting users to sign up, securing partnerships, organising the marketing, monitoring sales, creating content, responding to user queries and a hundred other tasks!
But at least you know that your app will always be up and running quickly, in good health and in safe hands.
To find out more about how we can help you launch a new application or support an existing one, drop us a quick message. Or if you do find yourself in need of help with marketing, mentoring, gathering finance or anything else, let us know. If we can’t help you, we’re sure to know someone who can.