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Once you have a solid understanding of what your users need, as well as the potential mobile solutions to meet those needs, you’ll want to refine those concepts into a concise project plan to share with your project stakeholders. The most important element in defining your project plan is the application definition statement—a concise definition of your app’s purpose.

Creating an application definition statement

Start by writing an application definition statement. It should include the following:

  • The purpose of your application
  • Who it’s for and how they’ll use it
  • Its core functionality

Be sure your statement defines a solution and only its core functionality, but not a detailed set of features. You need to be sure you have a strong purpose statement that you use to filter every idea for a feature. Does the feature serve the intended purpose? Pick the fewest, most frequently used, and appropriate features for the mobile context. Otherwise, you can end up with a long, unfocused list of features that are either difficult to execute or that don’t really solve the problem. Keeping your app focused will help give your users the greatest productivity in a simple to use package.

Application Definition Statement Example

Here’s what an application definition statement might look like, using a time tracking app for lawyers:

  • Purpose: Track time spent and billable hours for each client case
  • Who it’s for: Lawyers in the firm who need to track billable hours
  • How they’ll use it: At every client meeting to start and stop billable time
  • Core functionality: Track and report time spent to the CRM system
  • Consolidated definition statement: App for lawyers to track time and billable hours for each client
  • Features that fit the definition: A start/stop watch; background tracking/processing; server integration with CRM system; client record lookup for associating time tracked with client/case; online/offline syncing based on network connectivity
  • Example of features that don’t fit the definition or exceed the project scope: Alerts for new cases in trial; document lookup for legal reference; map of client locations; patent lookup interface

Planning Checklist

By the end of the planning phase you should have a scope of work that includes:

  • Inventory of all potential business needs/requirements

  • IT infrastructure requirements to support project effort

  • Application definition statement describing the app and purpose of the solution

  • General project timeline and milestones

  • Identified team of stakeholders with roles and responsibilities defined

  • Started the enrollment process for the iOS Developer Enterprise Program