How Many Apps Should I Try to Support?

I’ve had a post in my drafts folder for a while now, it details a kind of development strategy1, which among other things, is based around maintaining “one or two apps”.

I’m not sure about other developers, but I often have the urge to work on more than one idea; more than one app. I’m drawn by how an app might work and look, the problems it could solve. I want to see the idea done well, and of course, part of the lure is the possibility of success.

As I worked on that draft, restricting myself to only two apps felt like a good compromise. However, over the last handful of months my view on this has been changing…

So, how many apps should I try to support?

In my situation (hobbyist iOS dev and new dad) one of the biggest challenges is finding time. I’ve found that working on too many projects reduces my ability to focus and introduces a negative feeling of not being able to make adequate progress.

Going back to that development strategy draft, the thinking behind me maintaining one or two apps, was that I could, at least, alternate between releases; progressing the other application could always be the next project to work on.

But something happened during the development of 2.0 Nudg’em that changed my view: I dropped from 4 apps down to 2.

That was April. In a slightly more recent post about prioritising (June), I hinted at the positive impact this change had on my focus.

To say more: even though I was midway through the development of 2.0, those other apps still took up some of my time. Ideas, notes, conversations, download numbers, what ifs…

Removing those apps from the store stopped me thinking about them. Open loops were closed. It felt obviously right and I felt better about my App-Store-situation.

It made a big difference.

Such a difference that I started to consider reducing the number of apps further, to one.

Fast forward to now. I’m considering what to work on next. I could switch over to a second app, or, I could…

  • Get an iOS 9 update ready
  • Make a promo video
  • Make a website
  • Add new features
  • Make it universal
  • Add functionality for the watch
  • Etc.

Knowing that I struggled with time to finish the 2.0 project, switching to develop another application would simply halt all progress on Nudg’em.

It’s obvious: in my current situation I should focus on a single app, only.

About that development strategy.

I will go back to that draft as it involves more than just how many apps to work on. In some ways it is like a personal manifesto2.

For now however, the app of choice is Nudg’em. That means no further development for my newest app, Alter; I should remove it from the store.

I’ll explain the decision to go with Nudg’em in a future post.

  1. I’d considered calling it a “business plan”.
  2. Actually, I think “manifesto” is most fitting.