Developing mobile apps is not a destination, it is a journey — and a never-ending journey at that. It begins with the conception of an idea to rigorous development, testing and rollout, followed by getting people to know and download your app. That “download” moment is indeed a moment of great joy for the developing organisation, but the battle is far from over. Statistics show that in 2017, just 37% of users returned to an application more than 10 times. Another 2016 report revealed that 75% of users uninstall an app within 90 days. The message is clear: unless mobile apps reach their right target users, continue to be useful and deliver exceptional experiences, users will see no reason not to delete those apps.
DevOps, which is in stark contrast to the waterfall approach of app development, and involves the confluence of business and technology decisions, provides promising a solution to this growing need to keep app users satisfied. The challenge today is to deliver high-quality apps to users, study their usage patterns, measure multiple parameters via analytics and continuously feed that data back into the development system. A proactive approach that delves deep into the latent needs of users will help teams give users what they want before the users even anticipate them.
With the coming together of development and operations teams in DevOps environments, organisations that nurture a “continuous everything” culture are able to quickly respond to unexpected changes, implement enhancement decisions, and release apps much faster than the traditional approaches. Strong collaboration between different stakeholders prevents complex issues to prop up later in the development cycle as all these considerations are factored in throughout the development lifecycle. Moreover, instant reporting and feedback capabilities, transparency of development and regression testing features of DevOps enable mobile app developers to troubleshoot problems quickly, re-optimize user experience and prevent those dreaded one-star reviews on the app store.
All that being said, creating a DevOps culture is difficult because of the multiplicity of factors and the lack of a standard industry definition of what exactly DevOps is. Nevertheless, the taut timelines that are characteristic of mobile app development are best served by this approach, and an increasing number of organisations are using it to expedite the development, delivery and continuous management of their mobile apps.