business and technology, Business Product Development, Business Software Application Development, Mobile App Development

Hady Shaikh’s Product Development Strategy for Mobile App Success in The Middle East

Mobile App Development Company in Dubai

Hady Shaikh shares his conventional strategy for building successful mobile app products, ones that seamlessly integrate into users’ lives, provide value at every touchpoint and scale to overcome budding business challenges. 

What is a product development strategy and how does it accelerate successful development execution?

A product development strategy is a comprehensive plan that outlines the approach, methodologies, and tactics used to create and bring a new product to market, in our case, launching a new mobile app or scaling an existing one. 

This strategy encompasses all stages of the product life cycle, from conceptualization and design to development, launch, post-launch optimization and marketing plan. The goal of a product development strategy is to maximize the chances of success by aligning the product with market needs, customer preferences, and business objectives.

In simplest terms, this product development strategy includes ‘all the pre-development planning a product manager should do to ensure right execution, strong teamwork, on-time launch, and market success.’

Advantages of Creating a Product Development Strategy for Mobile App

As a principal product strategist for 10 years, I can count more than ten reasons why product owners, business managers and decision makers should spend a good deal of time on creating a product development strategy.


To start with, user-centricity is the most important factor in the strategy. You continuously decide actions and connect them to the user experience. This way, your development and marketing teams

  • Can align well on how to develop and how to market
  • Get a clear vision and SMART goals for the product 
  • Prioritize features that add value and convenience on ever tap 


While this product strategy gives you a direction, it also answers ALL questions related to development approach, monetization models, technology stack and team composition. This is your documented business plan that you take to your mobile app development company in Dubai, or across UAE, and start with prototyping and coding because little is left for discovery stages. 


When the strategy answers the ‘why’ and ‘how’ for your mobile app development process, your team is left with the ‘when’. You cross-communicate with different departments (or members) about design, development, testing, marketing, launching and maintenance. Then you can easily decide the deadlines for completion, and establish development KPIs.

With everything on paper, your team stays laser-focused, becomes more accountable – has space for creativity, yet sticks to scope of work because the goals are pre-decided. 

Development Process Vs. Development Strategy

Development strategy outlines the overarching plan and objectives guiding the app development project, including

  • business goals
  • target audience identification
  • monetization strategy
  • market research
  • technology stack selection.

On the other hand, development process refers to the systematic series of steps involved in building the app, such as:

  • planning
  • requirements gathering
  • design
  • prototyping
  • coding
  • testing
  • deployment
  • launch. 

While the development strategy sets the direction and goals for the project, the development process focuses on the tactical execution and implementation of the plan, ensuring that the app meets quality standards and achieves its intended objectives. 

The success of any mobile app development project depends on two factors: right strategy and its right execution – which is the process. So, this article 

Step 1 in Product Development Strategy: Understand your audience 

Success in the mobile app industry hinges on your ability to understand and anticipate user needs. Take the time to listen to your users and tailor your app accordingly.

Think about: 

  • What do you want to develop?
  • Why do you want to develop?
  • Who are you developing for? What problems do they face? 
  • What do they do? Where are they located? What is their age? How much do they earn?
  • Why do they need your app?
  • How will your app solve their problems?

I’ll give you an example from the mobile app I started working on with my team last month. 

So an aspiring, excited entrepreneur discussed with me how he wanted to launch a mobile app that would help people stay more organized and become more productive. We started working on his product development strategy, and I began by asking him three questions:

  • Which ‘people’ are you referring to?
  • Why are these ‘people’ struggling with organization and productivity? 
  • In which areas of life do they want to be more organized or productive?

We narrowed down our focus, and got answers for these questions. So, he wanted to develop a mobile app for ADHD patients that would help them stay more organized and become more productive in their professional tasks by increasing accountability and attention. 

By making certain aspects about your target audience specific, you can launch a mobile app, that will not only bring downloads, but also engage your users. 

These answers will help you stay laser-focused on why, how and when you develop and launch. 

In your product development strategy, start with target audience research, and find out these aspects about your users:

  • their personal attributes, for example, height, health, gender, age, location  
  • their professional details, for example, income group, job type, participation in business
  • their medical history, for example, diabetic 
  • their interests, for example, reading, hiking, boating 
  • their technology acceptance, for example, high/low
  • their preferred devices, for example, smartphones or smartwatches 
  • their dislikes, for example, dark colors, clutter, disturbing sounds 
  • their pain points, for example, lack of sleep, access to healthy meals, busy lifestyle 

If you already have a mobile app idea based on a problem you can solve, you might know a great deal about your users. To get further clarity, you can:

  1. Go to online communities, like Reddit and Facebook groups, where users actually open up about their issues, favorites, likes and dislikes, symptoms and triggers, preferences, wish lists, etc.  
  2. Conduct surveys and gather direct feedback about their pain points, needs, preferences and expectations 
  3. Visit settings where you can find your target audience and talk to them.
CMOLDS Mobile App Development Company Dubai

Bonus tip: associate one feature with each pain point, and see how your mobile app looks in alignment. 

Step 2: Define SMART goals for your app development 

By now, you have your target audience, and you have a product idea that will solve a specific problem. Now research if similar apps exist. If yes, this is your competitor app, and you have to do better. 

Answer these five questions about your competitor’s app:

  • What are the key features and functionalities of the competitor app?
  1. How does the competitor app make money?
  2. How does the competitor market its app?
  3. What are the issues and problems in the competitor’s app?
  4. How is the user experience designed in the competitor app?

After competitor analysis, set goals for your product. The main goals in this product strategy is to decide five main aspects of your mobile app:

 The main goals in this product strategy is to decide five main aspects of your mobile app:

  1. platform
  2. technology stack 
  3. timeline for launch
  4. cost of development 
  5. monetization

Once you have penned down you thoughts on these five areas of your product, set up SMART goals: 

  • Specific: the number of features in the app, and the exact problem it will solve.

Example: The app will help ADHD patients complete 5 jobs tasks with these 3 features. 

  • Measurable: number of app downloads, active users, ratings 

Example: get 100 ratings till the first 6 months of launch

  • Achievable: the development milestones, and launching deadline 

Example: design the UI of 15 screens in 7 business days 

  • Relevant: the purpose of use by daily active users 

Example: help ADHD patients complete 5 more tasks in 30% less time 

  • Time-bound: deadlines

Example: Launch the beta version of the app for testing within three months, followed by a full public release within six months.

Step 3: Choose a development approach 

Once you have a clear picture of your target audience – their demographics, profession, income group and other attributes, it’s time to move ahead to the technical part. 

There are two major considerations you have to decide before you hire a mobile app development company in Dubai:

  • Device/operating system where you’ll launch your app
  • The development approach your developers will use

Logically, if you wish to launch a mobile app for Android users, you’ll hire Android development services with use cases in Java and/or Kotlin. 

If you wish to launch a mobile app for Apple users, you’ll hire iOS (iPhone and iPad) app development services with use cases in Swift and/or Objective C.   

But the most common, and business-centric move is to launch an app for both groups of users: Android and iOS.

Here, you get two choices:

  • Develop native apps for each platform
  • Develop crossplatform app that works similarly on both platforms with React Native or Flutter 

In my experience, cross-platform app development is ideal for startup founders and new appreneurs who want to test an advanced idea that users are not familiar with. Appreneurs who have limited budgets and are looking to fund their app development process should also develop cross-platform apps.

Other established corporations, with a brand reputation and market capitalization, high-end budgets should consider developing native apps for both of the platforms. 

Step 4: Plan User Interface and User Experience 

A business mobile app is the direct ambassador for your business – its interface and experience will set up users’ opinions about your brand and the quality of your products and services. 

Here are 5 best practices you have to follow when designing user interface and user experience – the screens and user journey within the app:

  1. Create a set of wireframes based on the user journey within the app. Then create screens for each feature.
  2. Design buttons and CTAs matching with the overall app design and concept. 
  3. Ensure accessibility through font size, color and button shapes. 
  4. Design separately for diverse screen sizes. 
  5. Only add features that add value to the app, help users and simplify the activities within the app.   

Step 5: Create A Monetization Strategy 

Start by defining your app’s business model, which outlines how you intend to generate revenue. Common monetization models for mobile apps include:

  • Freemium: Offer the app for free with basic features, and charge users for premium features or content through in-app purchases or subscriptions.
  • In-App Purchases: Offer virtual goods, upgrades, or additional content for purchase within the app.
  • Subscriptions: Charge users a recurring fee to access premium features, content, or services on a subscription basis.
  • Advertising: Display ads within the app and generate revenue through ad impressions, clicks, or engagement.
  • Paid App: Charge users a one-time fee to download and access the app.
  • Brand Alliances: build B2B partnerships with brands and earn as an ambassador. 

I recommend appreneurs and product managers to create a monetization framework utilizing a mix of models – for example, if you are launching a free app, then you can add in-app purchases. 

If it is a freemium app, you can offer a one-time purchase, or subscription to permanently disable ads. 

The most important step is to strike a balance between providing value to users and generating revenue. Ensure that your monetization strategy enhances the user experience and provides clear benefits to users in exchange for their investment.

Step 6: Establish Security Objectives  

As a product owner, or a developer, you should prioritize app security to demonstrate a commitment to protecting user interests and upholding the integrity of the app brand.

Create a checklist of security activities that your app development team will perform throughout the development lifecycle and the quality assurance analysts will check mark during the testing phase. Consider adding these KPIs:

  1. Identify potential security risks.
  2. Perform data storage tests.
  3. Adopt security standards and best practices.
  4. Implement secure development lifecycle (SDL).
  5. Perform threat modeling.
  6. Implement authentication and authorization mechanisms.
  7. Encrypt data in transit and at rest.
  8. Use secure third-party APIs.
  9. Conduct security testing.
  10. Provide ongoing security maintenance.

Step 7: Write a Marketing Strategy 

Before you start developing, you need to decide how you’ll promote your app. You’ll have to devise a plan to convince your target users to either ‘start’ using this brand new app, or switch to your from the competitor’s. 

In both cases, you’ll need a strong Unique Selling Proposition, a differentiation strategy, and a cost leadership factor. 

You can market that your app is either more economical or user friendly, fills a gap, solves the problem in a better way. 

In your marketing strategy, decide ‘when’ you’ll start marketing the app, and which platforms you’ll use. As a checklist, here are 10 activities I recommend all app owners perform: 

  1. Perform keyword research for app stores
  2. Perform keyword research for search engine optimization
  3. Develop a website – landing page to increase downloads
  4. Create a mix of text, photo and video content
  5. Start social media pages to increase anticipation
  6. Establish a community to generate discussions about the app. 
  7. Use TikTok and YouTube for video marketing 
  8. Register a business page on LinkedIn. 
  9. Attend networking events 
  10. Visit settings where you can meet your target audience in-person  

Step 8: Set up analytics goals 

Whie you are forming a strategy, you also have to establish the success metrics on which you’ll evaluate the performance of your app as well as the complete project management process you’ll follow for the development. Here are top 6 figures I recommend you track and analyze – monthly, quarterly, annually and so on!

Metric  Formula  Target Ratio Actual Performance Quick Analytics
1 User Acquisition Number of New Installs per Month 

1st Month: 40 to 100 installs 

2nd Month: 200 to 500 installs 

Higher the better 
2 Retention Rate (Number of Users at End of Period – Number of New Users during Period) ÷ (Number of Users at Start of Period) * 100

1st Month: 20% – 35%

2nd Month: 

Higher the better 
3 Monetization Metrics Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) = Total Revenue / Number of Users

1st Month: AED 350 – AED 700 

2nd Month: AED 700 – AED 2000 

Higher the better 
4 Conversion Rate = (Number of Paying Users / Total Number of Users) * 100

1st Month: 0% – 2%

2nd Month: 2% – 7%

3rd Month: 7% – 10%

Higher the better 
5 App performance  Crash Rate = (Number of Crashes / Number of Sessions) * 100  Crash rate <1% Lower the better 
6 App Load Time = Time taken to load the app (in seconds) 2 – 3 seconds  Lower the better

In my experience, these metrics can vary from app to app, business to business and scope to scope of the MVPs. Your target metrics will also depend on the goal of your MVP development, for example, internal support to employees or an insurance claim calculator for your customer.


I will wrap up this product development strategy guide by quoting intelligent words that I always apply to product development: we are what we repeatedly do! Excellence then, is not an act but a habit! 

While this guide on building a product strategy for mobile app ends here, your first step towards business success also starts here. If you are starting with a new product idea, or modifying an existing one, here are my two cents:  

Your mobile app’s user experience should work as a habit loop that keeps your users hooked and engaged and connected. 

As a senior product development strategist, I continuously motivate my team and my clients – product owners, managers, key decision makers, and app entrepreneurs to think of user experience development as a cyclical process – you repeatedly analyze, research, monitor, update, market, grow and improve – and ultimately earn more from your app by providing a high-end user experience. 

Need help with ideating, developing or scaling the revenue of your mobile app?

We want to hear your epic app development idea and are waiting to help you with its product strategy. 

Book a free 1:1 session with Hady Shaikh.


About Hady Shaikh

Sr. President Business Unit & Strategy at CMOLDS UAE. He leads the product development strategy and manages partnerships and alliances for brands. He also enables entrepreneurs and startup founders in pooling financial resources for MVP development and market entry.

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