When you’re ready to consult a development team for an estimate on your software solution, they are going to ask you for your features list. A features list is just what it sounds like – a list of functions that the app will provide for its users. 

For your development team to give you an accurate estimate for the timeline and cost of your project, they will need to know exactly what they’re building. Think of it as a bonus room addition to your house. When you ask the contractor to provide an estimate, they need to know how large the room will be, what kind of flooring to install, which walls they need to tear down, etc. The more work, the more your room addition will cost. Similarly, the more complex your app is, the longer and more expensive development will be. 

In this article, we will discuss how to build a comprehensive feature list.

Determine your budget

This seems like an obvious place to start because your budget will drive the rest of the app development. The more money you have in your budget, the more detailed the app can become. We work with many entrepreneurs who participate in various grant programs, so several of our clients already have their budgets determined for them by the programs they receive their funding from. We encourage you to allow some wiggle room in your budget because we are 1,000% sure that new features you haven’t thought about before will pop up as the project progresses. We recommend that you provide a price range for your developers to build their estimate. 

Write out a statement of purpose

For the sake of this article, let’s assume that you have already come up with your software solution, have conducted thorough market research, determined your target audience, and are ready to jump into the development phase. 

Whether you’re building an app to educate users on a specific topic, or you’re building an app that will work as a game, you need to come up with a “thesis” statement to convey its overall purpose. When we ask our clients for their “thesis”, we usually approach the question by asking them to define what successful completion of the project will look like. Here’s an example:

“By the end of the first phase of my project, the app will be used to educate users on how to naturally balance their hormones. Users will go to my app for educational resources including videos and articles, and they will be able to connect with professionals in the medical field to schedule an online consultation via video conference on their iOS app.”

Break it down

Another thing that we ask all of our clients to do is break down their features into the following brackets:

  • Must have – features that the app needs for a complete user experience
  • Should have – features that are not detrimental to the function of the app but hinder the user experience if not included
  • Nice to have – features that are not immediately necessary, but would add value and an improved user experience
  • Next version – features that are not needed, but as the app gains an audience, would be good to add in the future

Putting your features into these categories will help keep the most important features prioritized while also ensuring that low-priority items are not forgotten. If the project finishes under budget, you can start to add in features that are categorized as “Nice to have”. The more organization, the more smoothly your project will go.

Talk to your developers

We can’t encourage you enough to study your market and target audience to learn what the most pressing needs are for your software solution. If you don’t fully know what your app should include right away, that’s okay! Just provide as many details as you can about what your expectations and goals are for your software solution. Your developers are there to support you and will work with you to determine the fine details of your app.

Ready to get started on your project? We’d love to talk to you. Schedule a free consultation with us.