I have often been asked these two questions about building mobile apps:

  1. What size mobile team is needed to build a specific app?
  2. How long will it take to build this app?

After answering these same questions over and over for the past three years, I have come to the conclusion that most mobile app projects need to be completed quickly, and most can be first launched with an MVP, or minimal viable product.

I usually conclude that it will take about 3 months to complete a mobile MVP and most product companies like that time frame. Its not too long and not to quick. Its just about right.

I also usually conclude that the team should consist of three software engineers (SE), one quality assurance engineer (QA), one designer (UX/UI), and one technical manager (TM). The team is usually about six people and looks like this:

  • TM (1)
  • UX/UI (1)
  • SE (3)
  • QA (1)

After creating this same team structure over and over for mobile apps I realized there was a pattern growing here. There was always around six people involved in the team. Some of those six are not allows 100% allocated to the project, but for most members of the team, they are allocated 100% of their time.

A few months ago I coined the phrase “The Mobile Six Pack” to describe the default team size and configuration of a mobile development project. Since I usually concluded that the team size would be six people, I started using the term Six Pack. After a while I realized that this team configuration was only being used on mobile projects, so I tossed in the word mobile. Then I realized I had a memorable name for a mobile team: The Mobile Six Pack. After a while of using The Mobile Six Pack it started catching on with other colleagues because it was easy to remember, and it sounded pretty cool.

Not all mobile projects end up with the same resource configuration, but a good rule of thumb is a nice place to start. I am sure many of you would agree that this is consistent with many of the team proposals you have created.

#MobileSixPack @larryaasen

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