The problems that probably pain app developers or QAs the most are App Store or Play Store rejections, or crucial bugs slipping through. Developers dread submission time, and for good reason. A rejected application raises questions around every aspect of the development process, and can cost an organization a great deal of money; money that startups in particular may not have to spare. These mistakes can cost a lot. And we are of course only human, so mistakes are bound to happen.
It can be concluded that while it was commonly known app re-submission was expensive, the individual costs were not often clearly defined. Just ask ourselves what they really are, and what the total price tag might actually be. Non-technical stakeholders may not grasp the attention to detail required to successfully submit an app. If something takes only 20 minutes to fix, why should the team spend more time than that on testing? The costs that have been uncovered should settle these doubts for good.
The factors of resubmission:
1) Development time
If your app is rejected due to bugs, each bug has to be investigated separately. Your developers have to receive a bug report/issue description, then have to replicate it, fix it and test it. This time is very precious because usually a resubmission interrupts the current sprint. The developer has to stop his current task, go back to the old git branch, get warmed up with the actual problem, and then determine the fix. If he finally applies the change to his or her current branch, it will either have to be rebased, or they may potentially have to rewrite code due to conflicts or logic changes. Once it is believed to be fixed, at least a smoke test has to be executed. Because the issue was missed once, the new round of testing should perhaps be more thorough than the pre-submission efforts. To get detailed consultation from certified software testing specialists on the official website – https://testfort.com/qa-consulting.
2) Support time
With users complaining and sending negative emails or providing bad reviews on the App Store or Play Store, you will need to spend a significant amount of time on damage control. If the new version is meant to fix known issues, and you announce the fix, you will have to take a fair bit of time to explain the issues to your customers. If the problem occurs on a specific device or OS version that the team doesn’t have on hand, there will likely be some back and forth with the user as well. Once the bug is replicated it has to be filed in a bug tracking tool with as much info as possible. Then of course you must fix it.
Target responding to customers
Even if you have not yet released a new app, support time can be a consideration. If you announce a launch date that will no longer be met, you will spend a fair bit of support time answering questions about why the app is unavailable, and when the new date will be. If putting out a new app, it can be wise to obtain approval first, then set the launch date.
A given issue might be simple or complex, taking anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to fix. If a release has more than one such error, the time required to fix can balloon considerably. Support time can be spent on answering reviews, emails, and support tickets. In addition, if your app is targeting businesses, you will have to answer to angry customers that will call your Sales or Account Executive.
3) Lost revenue / lost opportunity
Lost revenue is a tricky problem to define. It depends on how much revenue you generate with your app. It can also depend on what your latest release is intended to fix, or what new feature you are set to implement. Assuming you are monetizing through your app and it’s a crucial bug that prevents users from purchasing or navigating through the app, this can start at several hundred dollars per day or go all the way to millions of dollars per day for a large retailer.
4) Brand damage
Brand damage is also hard to quantify, and can be deadly for large brands, especially if the media picks up on the hiccup and writes something bad about your app. New features, promised fixes, or a brand new app…if you have told the world to expect these things, expect it they will, and will be all the more unforgiving if you fail to deliver.
The more recognized the brand, the more likely detractors (especially competitors) will jump on the opportunity to promote their product at the expense of yours. If their product is merely the written word itself, they will draw views by name association.
5) Upkeep Costs
If you are a startup, and are pushing your first application, you might have done a fairly good job of anticipating the reasons for app rejection. You tested thoroughly with the means at your disposal. However, perhaps those tests were run on the non-production database, and something was missed on the production version…or worse, perhaps the only thing you forgot to do with your app is switch it over to the production database. The app fails, because it is drawing the wrong information. The problem is a five minute fix. However, you are stuck re-submitting the app, and waiting at least 1-3 days for even an expedited update on the App Store, which is an unacceptable waste of time and money. You still have to pay rent for your office, salary for your employees, new hires in preparation for app launch (such as support), and any other incidentals. If you are developing for a third party, you might have other projects you can assign resources to, or you might be able to salvage time lost with training, but still, you are losing a week’s worth of revenue for the app in question, and all of the above mentioned problems such as brand damage can be magnified. A startup might have even less financial flexibility. If you expected revenue to offset general costs this week instead of next, it can almost make or break an organization.
This is of course highly variable, depending on where you stand in the massive possible range for each category. If your app is new, and everything goes smoothly, having to resubmit may not cost more than a thousand dollars. But if you have a highly popular app, dealing with large scale revenue (retail or other) a difficult resubmission process can mean millions of dollars in lost revenue. And don’t forget that this doesn’t even factor in the hard-to-quantify losses, namely brand damage.
Whether a minimal or horrible setback, resubmitting an app costs invaluable resources. A consistent and thorough testing process is a necessary part of product development, and as you have seen it can be highly valuable.