Building an app with Cheesecake Labs: Phase #3 Product Development
Development Business

Building an app with Cheesecake Labs: Phase #3 Product Development

With this guide we come to the third phase of the Cheesecake Labs’ four-phase Product Definition, Design, Development, and Optimization process. But in no way is the ‘Development’ phase the final step in any app’s journey.

After the Product Development phase is complete, you’ll have a fully functioning market-ready web or mobile app — something we can continue to work together on, gathering user feedback, exploring your problem-solving proposition, and staking your place among competitors. It’s a significant milestone in your application’s lifecycle (and one to be excited about). It opens doors to a new chapter, where you’ll be iterating and improving on a live product.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First we need to take your defined and designed app idea and get it in users hands.

What does Product Development look like at Cheesecake Labs?

To put it simply, this is when all your preparation really starts to pay off. Big ideas become bona fide features, wireframes become the user experience, mocked-up layouts become the user interface and a fully functioning app.

How you get to that end result depends on the development service you’re after, and with Cheesecake Labs there are two distinct routes to choose from: ‘Full Product Development’ and ‘Dedicated Team’.

Full Product Delivery

For those who have been with us for Phase 1: Product Definition and Phase 2: Product Design, this is the third step on the stairway to success.

Your Cheesecake Labs project manager will have ushered you through all three phases, and you’ll have interacted with a cross-section of our expert thinkers and makers from across the business.

Of course, your involvement will have added significant value throughout the process. That doesn’t change just because we’ve got to the nitty gritty coding part (more on collaboration later).

Dedicated Team

The ‘Dedicated Team’ option is often the route of choice for clients who simply need access to a fully-trained, highly-skilled and globally trusted team of design and development experts, without needing to hire in-house. The Cheesecake Labs ‘Dedicated Team’ operates as if an extension of your business. We’ll partner with you on your priorities and can leverage our in-house skills, toolkits, and processes to achieve your goals.

Whichever Development route you take, you have the Cheesecake Labs three-pillar promise

No matter which way we approach the Product Development phase, our deliverables (and their quality) stay the same, thanks to the three pillars we uphold in any work we do.

Our pillars — quality, efficiency, transparency — have added value to digital products for close to a decade. We’ve learned to be flexible with our process without compromising on what and how we deliver.

Quality

Once the development is complete for each iteration, we want you to have a high-quality product that’s a true representation of your brand and the hard work you’ve put in. But ‘quality’ also means having stellar UX and ironing out all the major kinks before users take over the reins.

Efficiency

Being efficient doesn’t mean knowing how to code faster (although we’re quick at that too!).

At Cheesecake Labs, we believe that efficiency comes from focusing on what matters and adapting quickly to change. Our process is based on “value delivery” — prioritizing and shipping builds in line with how valuable they are to the end user and to the app. Must-have features are tackled first, even if they require more time and effort up front. That’s what we think it means to be efficient, as it gets you to market faster.

Transparency

The Development process lives and dies by collaboration — collaboration and collective intelligence across the Cheesecake Labs team, and collaboration between us and our clients (you).

From our end, we guarantee regular, informal updates via Slack, to keep you in the loop. As well as more structured weekly check-ins to realign on the roadmap.

But we also ask for honest, upfront feedback too. We know that business relationships are based on trust. When both sides feel able to speak their minds, we can all work more efficiently and deliver greater quality.

These three pillars all fit in together.

Why develop your app with Cheesecake Labs?

Our people

We hire the best of the best, and we train our teams to utilize collective intelligence from across Cheesecake Labs on every build.

Your project manager will be your number one point of contact throughout your entire experience with Cheesecake Labs (one, two, or all three phases of it). And we’ll make sure the exact right team of developers is assigned to your app, to deliver quality, efficiency, and transparency, of course.

Our process

Other agencies might deliver in features. We deliver in value.

What do we mean exactly? Let’s explain with a simple example.

When a feature is ready for you to review, we’ll deliver it. No messing around, no hanging about. On our shared Kanban board, we’ll organize and work through tasks and cards via the value they provide to your business — not by ticking off the easiest tasks first, or however other development teams might work. And each milestone achieved results in a viable, live product for users to test and try.

We also integrate Quality Assurance before the first line of code is even written. In fact, if you’ve been with us for the Product Design phase, you’ll have met our QA team then as well. We believe QA cannot be underestimated in app design and development. With their help, we can catch issues early, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming fixes down the line. 

The stress-testing of your app follows a pathway of milestones: the lab (where it’s tested by developers), staging (where you, the client, can validate the implementation) and lastly production, where the final user takes it for a spin.

We guarantee that every staging environment is working as expected before you take the time to review it: quality, efficiency, transparency.

Our toolkit

Our three pillars come into play in our tooling choices too.

We’re experts when it comes to React Native, Kotlin and Swift for mobile development and ReactJS, Python and NodeJS for web and backend. We have been consistent with our tech stack for the past 8+ years, because we trust in its ability to deliver top quality outcomes.

Tools that empower collaboration are crucial for our workflow as well. Your app’s code will be versioned using our standard git workflow, allowing for peer reviews on each Github Pull Request. A CI/CD pipeline is used to automatically check what’s been shipped versus best code standards (linting, automated tests, etc.) and we’ll use automatic deploys on specific events, making it easier to share updates.

Our advice for businesses preparing for Development

We’ve shaped and honed our app development process over years of iteration and insight. Tapping into that experience is just one of the reasons clients choose to work with us — and we’re going to share our three most salient pieces of advice below.

Here’s how to get the most out of your Development process with Cheesecake Labs:

Start thinking of your product in value (not features)

Features are what make up an app, but value is what makes it a success. Being user-centric in your Product Definition, Design, and Development approach is the strongest indicator that your app is going to do well when it hits the market. You may have a cool set of never-seen-before features, but if they don’t answer a user need, they’ll have a hard time gaining traction.

We’ll challenge you to assess your features not only by ease, time, or cost to build, but by which are essential to meet user needs and which are nice-to-haves. We’ll tackle the must-haves first, and then move onto the rest. During our weekly meetings with you, we may even decide to launch your app with just the must-have functionalities (a Minimum Viable Product), if that’s more valuable in the long-run.

Provide quick feedback and be an active participant

We share updates for review as and when they are ready — rather than only once big milestones have been met. This way we can all work together to achieve more in less time.

For that approach to work, though, we need you to respond to updates quickly and share your candid thoughts. Speedy feedback rounds result in speedy improvements — the work is still fresh in the development team’s mind and the feature’s had limited impact on the code base too.

We’re also relying on you to bring all your business intelligence to the table and to own that domain. You can trust us to be responsible for the technology; we’re trusting you to represent your brand.

Launch and learn

We touched on this above but it’s worth mentioning again: there’s nothing to be gained from incrementally tweaking code for weeks and weeks without going live. Let’s ship and get feedback from the users and the market instead. Launch early, and learn often.

Even if you aren’t 100% sure what you want, let’s all agree to run with an idea, develop it, test it, validate it, and change it as required. Any other approach simply leads to budget burn and time burn — a complete contradiction to our best practice ways of working.

Quality, efficiency, transparency — that’s the Cheesecake Labs way

We’re incredibly proud of the digital products we carry through to market. And we approach each Development process with the same tenacity and drive, whether you’re a totally new client or we’ve been through the Full Development Process together.

To find out more about how Cheesecake Labs could bring your mobile or web app to fruition, drop us a message today.

About the author

Bernardo Smaniotto

Bernardo Smaniotto is an engineer by heart, crossing borders within product development disciplines. As COO at Cheesecake he’s always making sure that we have efficient, collaborative processes that deliver on the quality we’re bound to.

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