Kicking Things Off Right for Unions & Associations

We created our Info Grove mobile app platform with the goal of simplifying the deployment and management of mobile apps for Unions & Associations. We wanted to build something that allowed our clients to go from idea to launch efficiently, in a cost-effective way, without compromising on quality.

The key to making this happen for clients large and small we’ve worked with has been our clearly defined, streamlined mobile app development process.

The first step in that process is the kickoff and discovery phase. This step is essential because it sets the stage for the rest of the project. Most importantly, it’s when expectations and objectives are established, and we ensure that the vision for the app is framed.

But I’m not technical at all and know nothing about mobile app development.

If you’ve been tasked with managing the development of a mobile app for your association or union, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed, or unsure of what to expect.

Don’t panic. You can manage an Info Grove powered mobile app project without any technical knowledge.

Most of the client teams we work with are non-technical and many have never managed a development project before. That’s why we approach the first step of the development process as an overview on how an Info Grove mobile app is designed, tested, launched, and managed.

By the end of our kickoff meeting, we want our clients to feel clear about the next steps, and confident about what we need from them and what to expect along the way.

What exactly does the kickoff and discovery phase entail?

The discovery and kickoff of a project is an opportunity for the Info Grove team to get to know your team and your union’s or association’s brand and it is a chance for your team to ask questions, share information and understand how we’ll work together.

You will want to invite anyone on your team who will work on the project. This may include a marketing or communications representative, a project manager, a graphic designer, or any important stakeholders. The most important person or people who should attend are those that will be the administrator for the app and/or the person/team who will be updating content once the app is live.

During our kickoff meeting, we’ll go over the steps of the project:

Your goals and objectives for the mobile app.

Why did your union or association decide to have a mobile app developed in the first place? What are the most important things you would like to achieve by launching the app? Knowing what you want to achieve with your app and the content you plan to include, will help us develop an app that helps you meet your objectives.

Your design vision.

What are your union’s or association’s brand guidelines? What logos do you use and how? If you have your own graphic design team, we can provide them with details on what is possible, and they can let us know what they’d like to see from a design perspective.

If you don’t work with a designer, our team can take your logo, colour scheme and any existing brand guidelines and provide some options for you to choose from.

The features you would like your app to have.

What are your must-have features? These features are typically linked to your goals and objectives. Reviewing other Info Grove mobile apps may also help you decide which features you want to include in your own app.

If you have a sitemap prepared, we would love to see that. A sitemap is a simple framework of how you’d like the content of your mobile app laid out. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a designer to create a preliminary site map. Having a look at some of the mobile apps Info Grove has designed for other clients can help get your ideas flowing. We’ll also use our experience and the information you share about your goals for the app to provide suggestions to develop a sitemap if you don’t have one.

Our team guides you through this process and again provides suggestions based on your objectives.

Getting set up on the App Center.

Soon after we have your union’s or association’s brand assets and data, we’ll develop a ‘beta’ or test version of your mobile app. We share the test version of the app using a Microsoft tool called App Center. During the kickoff meeting, we’ll explain this process so you can start thinking about the users who will create an account and register their phones, so they’re ready to review the beta version as soon as it’s ready.

Setting up the Store Accounts.

Our clients launch their iOS and Android apps on the App Store and Google Play respectively. In order to do so, they need to have their own store accounts. During the kick-off meeting, we bring this to light and recommend you start getting those accounts in place, if you don’t have them already, to avoid delays once the app is ready for launch. The App Store and Google Play is where we’ll publish the final app, so we’ll have you set Info Grove up as a team member, to allow us to publish apps on your union’s or association’s behalf. We try to make this part as pain-free as possible–all you need to do is set up the account and then we take it from there.

A timeline with key milestones and what we’ll need from you.

We work with you to set a realistic launch date for your app and then establish dates for each key milestone that we’ll need to hit to stay on track. Using our streamlined process and the Info Grove mobile app platform, this process can be completed in as few as six weeks if each key milestone is met.

You’ll be ready for the second phase of the process, data gathering. We’ll make sure you know exactly what we need from you in terms of branding assets, key information, and content so we can start the design and development phases of the project.

In addition to logos and brand guidelines, we may also need images, written copy, videos and more depending on the features of your mobile app.

The rest of the development process.

While we’ll take everything one step at a time, during the kickoff meeting we’ll give you the overall picture of what to expect at every step of the process from now all the way to deployment, including what to expect for training and ongoing support

How can I prepare for our kickoff meeting and the discovery phase?

Our team will be by your side from start to finish on this project, so don’t feel like you need to know everything coming into the first meeting.

That said, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the kickoff so that we can make the most of our time together.

  1. Have clearly defined objectives for your app that all stakeholders are aligned with.
  2. Explore potential app features and establish your must-haves.
  3. Invite the right people. Getting everyone on the same page from day one helps eliminate roadblocks later.
  4. Gather as much data as you can. We’ll make sure you know what we need before the next step but starting the data-gathering step early helps keep momentum going after the kickoff.
  5. Start a questions and concerns list. If there’s anything you’re unsure about or have concerns about, write them down and we’ll help put your mind at ease during the kickoff.

What’s next?

And we’re off! The next step in our mobile app development process is data gathering. You’ll leave the kickoff meeting with a list of action items and things we need from you. It’s time to wrangle your team and get back to us with key assets and information so we can meet our launch deadline.

From here on out, you’ll be in the capable hands of our Director of Customer Engineering, who will help you through the rest of the development process.

Karim Mansour is an Inside Sales Representative at 14 Oranges, the creators of the Info Grove platform.

Our Mobile App Development Process: Step One