How Messapps Chooses Projects

Vasily Malyshev
Strategy

At Messapps we’ve understood a long time ago that our success 100% depends on the success of our clients. When we create a successful app we make a long-term investment in our own marketing. Therefore, we put our maximum effort in every project we work on to make sure that it’s not only a cool idea or a bugfree app. We want to make sure that it’s an app with a lot of users, an app that goes viral, an app that gets publicity and makes their founders famous.

Now. In order for a product to become successful two things must happen. Numero uno: It must be a good idea that solves a particular need. Numero dos: it must be executed perfectly. I am a strong believer that execution is 90% of success. Just because too many people have great ideas and either never pursue them or don’t execute properly and hence don’t become successful. However, if the idea doesn’t solve a particular need, if it doesn’t have a sufficient demand then it might never become successful.

In this article, I will explain how we choose projects at Messapps and what a “good idea” means to us.

Time limitations

First, let’s address something that has nothing to do with the idea itself but is still very important. Any agency that you will be working with has limited resources. Whether it has 5 developers or 5,000 developers there is a limit to how many projects they can take on at the same time without losing the quality of work delivered to each client.

For us, quality is something that we are never willing to sacrifice. Not only is it important for our clients but being overloaded with work simply makes it work and deliver on milestones for us too. If an agency you are speaking with will tell you that they can “scale” or onboard your project, whatever its size, at any moment – that’s a big red flag. This means that they are more concerned with making a sale than performing their best and executing properly.

For these reasons we have established a certain workload plan for how many projects we can onboard each month.

Each month we get several hundred requests for app development. However, each month we end up onboarding only 3 new projects. With our 2-3 month development timeline, this allows us to limit projects working on during the same month to no more than 10. We have found that this is the perfect number of projects for our team and not going above that number ensures that every one of our clients receives the best quality support and our team members can devote plenty of time to each project. This also leaves a certain time buffer zone for us that we can use to catch up on projects that might have some difficult features.

Lastly, it is important to mention that we also have some moral standards and legal obligations. For those reasons we simply cannot accept apps that deal with drugs, profanity, pornography, racism, other illegal or offensive and immoral apps. Yup, we’re good guys and gals like that. Fortunately, we rarely get requests for apps in these categories.

“Good idea”

Now for the most important part. How to tell if you have a good idea? Note that the bar is not at “great”. Since execution is what in many ways makes a product successful you don’t need to come up with a spaceship to be successful. You need a good idea and great execution.

First, let’s check what Apple said themselves in their app review guidelines from a while ago: “We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps.”

Similar to Apple for some reason we don’t see much value in creating “fart apps”. Try to solve a problem. Make your app useful. And if it’s entertainment you are after try to make it lasting. Would someone keep using your app over and over or would use it once and delete?

For us a good idea has the following elements:

  1. It’s different or better

As Apple mentioned above if you are creating another app that does the exact same thing then it would be very hard to succeed. If you are creating another flashlight app that turns on exactly the same flashlight as other it would be very VERY difficult to succeed with such app. So try to be different. And if you have competition then make sure you do it better than them.

  1. It delivers value

If you are targeting a competitive industry then your value would be in creating a better product. If you are creating something new then you need to make sure that it solves a certain need that people have. For example, Uber solves the need for fast and convenient transportation. LinkedIn solved the need for a global professional social network. What problem are you solving?

  1. You can actually create it

One of the things that I absolutely love about working with software is that generally speaking what you can do is only limited by your imagination. In theory, you can code or develop anything you dreamed up. But there is a certain limitation to it. If you choose a specific platform where you want your software to work on, be it iPhone, Android, Windows computer then what you can be limited by those software platforms and hardware they are on. For example, we had a quote request for an app that allows users to send each other their battery power through a text message. As an idea it is fantastic! I would definitely use it. However, iPhone and Android phones currently just don’t support such transfer of battery life and hence it’s just not possible to do.

  1. Cost-Benefit analysis weighs in your favor

The difference between a hobby and a business is that hobby doesn’t have to be profitable. So if you’re creating a software product as a hobby for yourself then perhaps you won’t worry about being too much profitable. However, most people build product to profit from them. In order to do this you need to make sure that you can recoup your investment. For example if you do indeed want to develop an app that can transfer battery life from one phone to another then likely you’ll need to develop a special phone to go with it. But would creating your own hardware (phone) pay off? Would enough people buy your phone with battery transfer feature for it to be profitable?

If you have positive answers to all 4 points above then you probably have a pretty good idea! Now make sure you focus on execution and it doesn’t just become an idea that you will see someone else develop later.

Conquer the fear, and avoid the regret later! If you have a good idea – make it happen!