How Often Should your Mobile Team Ship?
A feature of highly productive engineering teams is their ability to ship new features and updates frequently.
For backend and frontend web teams, shipping is straightforward: push a commit to a git repo, trigger a build in CI/CD, and deploy a new version of the code on backend infrastructure or a static hosting service.
But for Mobile, shipping is a completely different beast, requiring a complex chain of events that culminate in an app store publishing and approval process that goes far beyond anything in the backend and frontend worlds.
Even with this considerable complexity, highly productive mobile teams are shipping frequently, with some shipping multiple times per day!
How do they do it, and how frequently should your mobile teams be shipping? Let’s take a look at some highly productive mobile teams to find out:
How 86 400 ships weekly
86 400, Australia’s first smartbank, knew they had to meet customers where they are: on mobile. So they built the first mobile banking solution for Australia, providing fast access to savings accounts and their whole financial picture. The other thing customers expect? Frequent updates, features, and bug fixes. To do that, 86 400 reached for Appflow, the leading Mobile CI/CD platform from the team behind popular open source project Ionic Framework.
86 400 uses Appflow to ship updates weekly, and has used Appflow’s deploy feature to fix bugs in realtime without the delay of republishing to the app stores.
The team at 86 400 ships at least after each two week sprint, and sometimes more frequently!
How Napa Group helps Acker meet bi-weekly deadlines
Acker, the world’s largest auction house for wine, engaged app consultancy Napa Group to build a development process that would help meet the need to run bi-weekly auctions on their mobile app.
With Appflow, Napa Group found a platform that enabled them to ship at the speed of development, pushing app updates daily and having polished, stable releases ready for each bi-weekly auction.
This development process would have been impossible without a service like Appflow providing a powerful Mobile CI/CD solution and key features such as live deploy.
How often should your team be shipping?
The very best engineering teams ship often, even on mobile. These are just two examples of highly productive mobile teams. The overhead of building and publishing mobile apps is no excuse for these productive mobile teams. In fact, most are shipping weekly.
Shipping frequently, even weekly, has a number of major benefits:
- Keeps the app top of mind - it shows up on the user’s device in the App Store updates list
- Frequent updates demonstrate that you’re committed to the app and that it’s still maintained
- New features drive business value and grow app adoption
- Engineering morale is tied strongly to shipping
Shipping frequently is certainly better than the opposite. So, how do they do it, and how can your team do it, too?
Well, shipping this frequently on mobile wouldn’t be possible without a powerful Mobile CI/CD solution that continuously builds, tests, and integrates a mobile app after each commit. And for hybrid app developers, being able to push web code updates without app store republishing is another key driver of developer agility.
A leading Mobile CI/CD service with the above features is Appflow, which powers apps for companies like Burger King, AAA, and more.
If you’re new to Mobile CI/CD, read more about what Mobile CI/CD is and how it differs from traditional CI/CD. If you’ve also been exploring building Mobile CI/CD capabilities on top of existing CI/CD infrastructure, take a look at our post on how you could build your own Appflow-style service, and why you might not want to given the complexity of mobile.
Either way, we hope your team is well on its way to shipping at least weekly and delighting users with frequent updates and bug fixes.