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How Many Developers Do You Need for an App?

A team of 3 to 4 developers is an excellent start to building a simple mobile application. Let’s dig deeper to see more options.

With the rise of app-based businesses and the expansion of outsourced mobile development, there are more questions than ever about how many developers you need to build an app. Unfortunately, this is a complicated question with no definitive answer.

The answer must consider the app's complexity and scope, development language, targeted platform(s), and whether you want to build the app in-house or outsource it. We wrote the following guide to address this question.

This blog will cover the primary considerations for how many app developers you need to build a successful app. In addition, we will suggest the average time and cost of an app development project and the roles required for this kind of project.

Get a Rough Idea of What Your App Should Look Like

First, you need to give yourself a basic idea of how your app should look and function before looking for mobile developers. This idea will help you prevent the most common mistakes of app development and avoid working with sketchy developers.

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Here are a few suggestions on this point:

  • Don't rush the idea or design process. Instead, spend several weeks refining your app idea before deciding on the development. You can take the time to establish why you want an app, how it should function and what it should be capable of doing.
  • Do your research. Lots of research. Every mobile application you find and download gives you a benchmark for the features you want in your app. In addition, you can look at how other apps function, how they look and how they address particular problems and tasks. Start your app research with appfigures.comappradar.com, and apptopia.com.
  • Experiment with paper and PowerPoint. Use these tools to sketch your mobile application's work and look. You will get a more realistic idea of what app developers can do and confirm if your development team has the skills to create such an app in-house.
  • Consider a hybrid approach. A hybrid approach may be ideal if you have a clear idea of your app and the features you want to include but lack the capabilities to code. This approach means building the front-end appearance of your app using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, for example. Learn more.
  • Don't waste your time on app ideas that don't align with your business goals. You can spend months trying to build a mobile app if it doesn't help achieve your business objectives and goals. Instead, create a proof-of-concept app quickly and keep it simple. Don't put the cart before the horse.

Don't Start with Native SDKs

A common mistake many companies make is to start with Google's or Apple's native SDKs. Hundreds of thousands of apps are available on these platforms; most aren't very useful or practical. In addition, many mobile applications don't have a solid user base, meaning they can drive up your development costs while being ineffective.

Apple and Google's native SDKs are best for companies with the resources to dedicate to new technologies and opportunities. However, suppose you're building a mobile application for small-to-medium businesses. In that case, you should keep it simple so it can have mass appeal, be readily marketable, and require a minor app development team.

Creating a simple HTML app from scratch may be more effective than building on top of one of the native SDKs. Keep things simple until you know what your app needs regarding options and features. Then put together a plan for development and a budget before moving forward.

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Understand App Development Time

Development time is difficult to pinpoint for any app development company because it depends on many factors, such as the size and scope of the project, as well as the technologies and features involved with each new app version.

However, the team and expertise are the most consistent measure of development time. The project could take months or even years if you dedicate an in-house development team. On the other hand, if you're outsourcing your project to a trusted app developer like Intersog, you should be able to get a high-quality application built for as little as 15 to 18 weeks.

The following table outlines the development time for a medium-complexity app in 7 stages:

How Long Does It Take to Develop an App?

#App Development StageTime length (weeks)
1Research2-3
2Validation1
3GTM strategy1-2
4Prototyping1
5Design2-3
6Coding20-26
7Release3-4
total:30-40

So, it takes 30-40 weeks to create a functional app from scratch.

App Development Price Tags

Developing a mobile application can cost thousands of dollars, depending on its complexity. It is more expensive than building a basic web application in JavaScript and HTML, which can cost less than $5,000.

According to Businessofapp.com, the average price tags for mobile app design and development in 2022 look like the following:

  • Simple app: $16,000 – $32,000
  • Medium complexity app: $32,000 – $48,000
  • Complex app: $72,000+

How Many Developers Are Needed for an App Project

So, we've established that the cost and time of an app development project will largely depend on your app's size and complexity. This appraisal is further affected by the platform and APIs your application will use, the types of features you want to include, and whether you will be developing it in-house or outsourcing.

Now, we can answer the central question of this guide: "How many developers do you need for a mobile app?"

App Development Team Roles

Based on our expertise trusted by Fortune 500 companies, including CDW, Mitsubishi Motors, and Tesla, we estimate that many app projects require a team of 3 to 4 developers and 3 to 4 IT specialists total, including these roles:

  • One project manager (full-time)
  • Two app developers (full-time)
  • One 1 UX/UI designer (part-time)
  • One DevOps specialist (part-time)
  • One backend developer (full-time)
  • One QA engineer (part-time)

This team is a good starting point for new app businesses and startups, but you may need more developers depending on the following four main factors:

  1. Platform (iOS vs. Android)
  2. Technology (HTML5 vs. Hybrid vs. Native Code)
  3. App complexity (simple vs. complex)
  4. Target market (mass appeal vs. limited market potential)

As you can see, the number of developers needed varies based on size, scope, and other factors. For more complex applications (such as games and eCommerce apps), you'll need to hire a development team that works in parallel.

Another essential thing to mention is that if you are building a mobile application requiring this or a larger team, you should optimize your development process with project management basics and agile methods to minimize the time spent on each stage of the software development life-cycle.

However, a worthy alternative is outsourcing the process to a trusted developer like Intersog. Let's find out how to find the right vendor for your mobile project.

Choosing the Right Developer for Your App Project

You want a development company that can build an app's functionality and appearance and provide the necessary infrastructure and support to enable the app to perform optimally on launch.

An excellent way to do that is to begin by asking the vendor the following questions:

  • How long have you been in the app development business? Can they share use cases that are similar to yours?
  • How many in-house app developers does the vendor have? Can you scale the team when needed?
  • Does the vendor offer a mobile app proof-of-concept service?
  • What is the standard development process for new apps?
  • What is the vendor's app development cost structure?
  • What is the average time frame for a new app development project?

Wrapping Up: Know the Cost and Length of App Development

The cost and time to develop a mobile app vary across the board. In this blog, we outlined the key factors that can affect your app project.

On average, developing a mobile application takes around 40 weeks and $16,000-$72,000 US dollars. However, you don't want to take these numbers at face value. They are the basic estimate that doesn't include your specific app development needs and your project's unique metrics and characteristics. Also, consider the ability of your app development vendor to take on the project and deliver a quality product on time and within budget.

Contact Intersog Delivery Team to get the estimate for your app project.

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Intersog is a leading IT solutions provider in the United States and beyond. The company has provided agile software engineering and staffing services for Fortune 500 corporations, tech startups, and SaaS businesses for over fifteen years. Why Intersog.