Major risks of mobile app startups

6 min read

It’s difficult to predict and plan all software startup pitfalls and other issues. By nature, the software is intangible and typically includes a large number of stakeholders. This combination of aspects can develop various risks that require to be considered and managed from the beginning of a software job. While we can estimate the risks these threats will have on your software project, the likelihood and impact of them occurring will differ depending on the methodology you are using.

We, as experienced software development experts, who have been on the digital market for more than 10 years and helped many startups to grow from scratch with the help of the Product Development Strategy Session, compiled a list of the most significant risks in software development practice. 


I. Software development planning issues 


No software advancement plan: it’s a comment that specifies the stages, goals, metrics, and outcomes of each step of a product development strategy. If the strategy weren’t created or improperly done, the software application development company would have no guidance, especially when things do not go as expected.

No methodology: if the software development team has not decided on a specific detailed method for handling tasks and processes, it will eventually lead to scheduling problems. When developers choose a Waterfall, they know for sure that they have to complete the stage. If they select Agile, they understand the increased flexibility. Not defining these terms injures the job.

No responsible team members: task managers must plan the task, assign tasks, and oversee sprints.

No experience: if the vendor lacks the insights and tried-and-proven practices for organizing the project, it will eventually lead to a possibly demanding schedule.

Also, scheduling issues often emerge to the lack of understanding of project requirements. As a result, groups either ignore their job’s work or overestimate it, trying to buy themselves re time if something goes wrong. The most reasonable method of avoiding this problem is taking risks into account while writing software application requirements files, however, don’t treat the worst-case situation as something that will undoubtedly occur.

For more information on how you can apply some of these risk management strategies to your project, please check our Product Development Strategy Session.


Budget development risks


Budget threats, just like timing issues, are a result of preparing failures. However, the effects of budget plan problems might be a lot more noticeable than the timing ones. For example, if the budget plan isn’t appropriately dispersed, the financial investments might exceed the limits. In the best-case scenario, the software development startup will be forced to perform other tasks on a smaller-sized budget plan. In the worst scenario, the whole project might be put on hold. Thankfully, budget risks, just like scheduling ones, are resolved throughout the planning. If the development company knows its possibilities and constraints, it’s possible to avoid the pitfalls.

The leading causes of budget management threats are:

  • No realistic understanding of product requirements: some features might be more expensive to develop.
  • No warning system in the project. The developers and startup owners must agree on the ers mad controlling budget plan and alerting each other if there’s a tiny possibility of exceeding defined limits. Financial management software can help identify these issues in time.
  • To prevent budgeting issues, ensure that your developer has documentation and control systems in place. Ideally, you must have the ability to track real-time how your resources are assigned to the project and why.

II. Operational development threats



Even if the team correctly completed the planning stage, it’s still not bulletproof insurance from other kinds of software development problems. Operational risks are the ones that can occur even in highly skilled teams of developers and need to be avoided throughout the project development.

The most common development issues

  • Wrong priority assignment: at the beginning of the development, teams might not understand product purpose, target audience, and critical features. As a result, they may concentrate on the job’s tasks that need to be shifted to secondary instead. 
  • Poor assigning policy: the product manager should provide clear communication within the team and assure the entire understanding of the project. This factor is vital for success. If PM fails to communicate the deliverables clearly for each developer, the team will ultimately wind up with an inefficient workflow. 
  • Wrong tech stack. Project managers also need to take the duty of choosing the right technology and professionals that have the necessary expertise. If it’s done wrong, the team will utilize not the most appropriate tech stack and perhaps, not fulfill the requirements.
  • No result metrics. App developers and QA’s must be aware of the main deliverables for the concept. The method by which the results are specified should be transparent for all employees and stakeholders.
  • Operation threats are lowered with proper communication. If management and all team members are on the very same page, the possibility of these risks can be significantly reduced.

Need a tech mentor for your startup?

Want to find a great startup mentor to help you to avoid all potential development risks? We here in Jetruby will help get your startup or side project where it needs to be. We have developed a technological flow that most of our clients undergo during the past 10 years of constant collaboration and cooperation with various startups. The first one of which is called a Product Development Strategy session. It is an accessible business consulting service where our experts will produce a general plan covering the future product development and the action plan with high-level features. Already got interested? Leave your project details below, and we will contact you in under 24 hours!

III.Scope Variations risks 

What is a scope change? Scope variations happened when the size of an iteration changes after a timeframe had been agreed upon. Due to receiving frequent consumer feedback, stakeholders or product owners will often ask to differ the project’s scope. Nevertheless, scope variation creates a severe risk to the project. When a scope varies, it substantially affects the ability of the developers to stick to the original timeline of a project.

So, how do you manage project variations? Managing customer expectations around how scope variation can impact the initial estimates is a required mitigation method for this threat. From our experience, using a variation metric to measure the scope changes allows for greater visibility to the app user of how the feedbacks have impacted the project.  The following are some other valuable strategies for dealing with scope variations. Short, adjustable iterations (or the Agile method) allow for more frequent opportunities to reflect upon and vary the project scope; and elaboration of only prioritized work.

IV. End-user Engagement

This risk is where an app is published to app stores however the users are resistant to change, or there is a conflict between users. Why is user engagement so meaningful? Guaranteeing that the users of a product will adopt the app will directly link to its success. When it comes to a startup building software for an external client, it will correlate with profitability. When it comes to an enterprise developing an app for internal use, it can determine whether the software will improve its performance.

How do you improve user engagement? 

You might be surprised how easy the response is – listen to your users. Some possible mitigation techniques for this risk consist of:

  • User testing and studies;
  • Focus groups;
  • Regular releases; 
  • Beta testing.

These mitigation techniques are far easier to apply to utilize agile development.

The chance of poor end-user engagement is much more most likely for projects following a waterfall methodology. This is due to the fact that these types of projects are unable to adapt to end-user feedback during the development process. In addition, the nature of waterfall development requires no scope variations.

V. Poor Quality Code

When the quality of a concept does not align with stakeholder expectations, there is a considerable risk that the project will not be successful. Poor quality code can occur for several reasons, for instance, when the project is underestimated, and developers hurry to complete the iteration. So what is a harmful code? Poor quality code can include several things. First, the code may be difficult to read, meaning it might be difficult for other developers to read it, review or make changes. Second, it may have been rushed and released without testing, therefore full of bugs that might have been avoided. Thus, the poor quality code produces a threat of technical debt. 

How do you define technical debt?

A technical obligation is any code that decreases the agility of a software task in the long term. Typically it is created by using shortcuts when writing code to develop the project faster. Nevertheless, code quality is necessary since it decreases the long-lasting development effort by making it easier to understand, keep, and extend.

How can you improve code quality? 

Developers need to preserve a high standard for their code. This can be done by following these methods:

  • Carrying Out User Acceptance Criteria to have stakeholders verify the project complies with the  standard;
  • Code reviews;
  • Precise coding requirements and guides;
  • Evaluating of all code;

Appoint a dedicated PM to monitor the quality of the project and take ownership of all stakeholders for the success and failures. 

VI. Poor Productivity

When a project team falls behind on planned timeframes, you might need to analyze the development team’s performance. Though not likely, poor performance might be the cause. How do you determine developer productivity? To identify the productivity levels of your development team, you can use tools such as burn-down charts or iteration reports. If your company has gone through a good hiring process, it is not likely you will face this issue, nevertheless the impact on a task if it does take place can be destructive to the product delivery process. . It is, therefore, valuable to think about the following strategies:

  • A team culture of your company;
  • Set attainable timeframes and a sustainable rate during your project estimates to prevent burn-out of staff; 
  • Hire a dedicated Product Manager who is directly involved and collaborates with the developers.

Bear in mind that people aren’t machines, and it is unrealistic to require them to be productive every hour they spend at work. 

VII. Low Stakeholder Engagement

What is low stakeholder engagement? This is where a client or stakeholder you collaborate with is not engaging with your team at the frequency necessary to preserve high-performance levels. Low stakeholder engagement is a substantial risk to projects because slow responses from the customer can impede delivery timeframes. The chance for low stakeholder engagement is increased when implementing agile approaches. This is because versions are more frequently delivered and need more regular feedback from stakeholders to the development team. How can stakeholder engagement be improved? Here are some techniques that can be used:

  • Clear agreements with the consumer or stakeholders around response times, particularly for any User Acceptance Testing; 
  • Good selection of Delivery and project goals/priorities.

VIII. Inadequate Human Resources

Though unlikely, sometimes, a stakeholder or development team member must leave a project all of a sudden. This can create a threat to the project, especially if task understanding is not effectively documented. So how do you lower this software development risk? Throughout a development process, it is valuable to:

  • Preserve up-to-date documents;
  • On-board new or replacement stakeholders with a learning guide; 
  • Control the invoice schedule and team usage frequently.


To perform a practical software development project, teams need to consider each kind of the risks mentioned above. Here’s a list of activities that are required for effective threat avoidance.

  • Planning: software development should begin with the production of a product development strategy and advancement plan;
  • Automation: the procedure of information analysis, real-time tracking, measurement ought to be outsourced to management, accounting, and quality control software application.

If teams know the risks of each task and development stage, they will know what risks to prevent in the first place. This is why risk evaluation and prevention is an ongoing activity relevant for all phases of the software development process. 

Need help? We are ready to assist:

With the above list, we have presented you with some risks for your mobile app startup. Always remember, it’s not an easy task to launch and run a tech startup company, so don’t refrain from asking for help. Having someone to guide you is better than failing alone. We at Jetruby help startups build their businesses from scratch, guide them by giving free startup product development consultation, and most importantly, help them achieve financial freedom by developing their idea into a business model. Now that you have these ideas want to know which tech startups will work for you? Contact us now.

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