How to Save Time and Avoid App Development Disaster

How to Save Time and Avoid App Development Disaster

Can One Simple Question Really Save you so Much?

What if every time you opened up your browser all your bookmarks had disappeared? …And you had to find and save your favorite sites all over again?

What if every time you tried to call someone all their contact information had suddenly vanished? …And you had to manually input it each time?

What if every time—well, you get it….

There’s a reason most of us prefer automatic transmission over manual: it’s easier, faster, and more convenient.

The same is true for software: automation = efficiency.

But not all developers use computers to automate the process they repeat every day.


The Joel Test measures the aptitude of a software developer by asking 12 simple yes or no questions. Think of it as the dev team capability test.

Of those 12 questions, there’s one every entrepreneur should be asking their current or prospective developer: Can you deliver the latest code to my phone for testing with one action? (A more specific versions of the original: Can you make a build in one step?)

In layman’s terms: if your developer pushed a single button after updating the code, would it automatically pull everything together and result in a working app on your customer’s phone?

The answer to this basic question is very revealing.

If they reply YES. Great; they’re competent.

But if they answer NO. Then remove them from consideration, if you are already working with them this should be a high priority area to mitigate.

Why? Because failure to make a build in 1 step means the developer is doing things manually.

As the founder of The Joel Test explains:

If the process takes any more than one step, it is prone to errors…If it takes 20 steps to compile the code…you’re going to go crazy and you’re going to make silly mistakes.

As a startup or small business, you simply can’t afford developers who make “silly mistakes.”


The inability to make one-step builds has considerable repercussions for your business, including:

  • Unnecessary loss of time, money & energy from lack of automation
  • Increased redundancy & human error
  • Longer deployment times & missed launch dates
  • Expensive, unreliable testing

The fact is many developers aren’t following the one-step rule, even though it would save them countless hours of work every week—the very same hours for which you’re paying good money.

Which begs the question: if they’re ignoring the fundamentals or can’t see the value of saving you time and money, what else are they neglecting?


Developers who follow the 1-step rule can help companies cut costs and increase earnings.

The ability to create a software package in an automated single step, and then deploy that package in a similar manner, creates massive opportunities for the team and business.

In other words: 1-step builds streamline the entire software compilation and delivery process, saving you both time and money.

And because there’s no need for human intervention, it also “removes the potential for mistakes, and ensures…a predictable, repeatable and resilient process.”

So there’s less business risk associated with 1-step builds. Automation makes everything predictable, repeatable, and therefore less risky.

Other benefits of 1-step builds include:

  • Improved app quality due to less human error
  • Increased savings from automation
  • Quicker deployment & update cycles
  • Less redundancy & time wasted

All of these mean you pay less, make more, and deliver higher quality products to your customers.


If I had to pick just 1 of the 12 questions from the Joel Test to ask a developer it would be: Can you make a build in 1 step?

The question’s beauty lies in its binary nature: either they can or they can’t. And I wouldn’t risk hiring those who can’t.

So can your developer make a build in one step? If not, you should consider hiring someone else.

And if you plan on engaging one in the near future, make sure to ask them this simple question. It might just save you a lot of time—and money.


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