Software Prototypes Lead to Successful Development Projects

Prototypes are the first visual versions that move concepts described in words on a page to something that everyone associated with the project can see, feel, and dissectPrototypes are powerful tools that ensure projects begin down the correct path. 

Why Prototypes are Powerful 

The word prototype comes from a Greek word meaning ‘original’ or ‘primitive’. In software development, prototypes are quick mock-up versions of web sites or applications that begin to bring the project to life. Prototypes are essential to any development project, because often clients have a great idea that can’t be fully explained by words alone. 

Prototypes make the project tangible, interactive, and testable. Important benefits of software prototypes include: 

  • Prototypes help the Product Owner define the vision for a project. 
  • Prototypes allow users to experience the vision. 
  • Users can test the experience before the development phase. 
  • Prototypes guarantee expectations will be met. 
  • Prototypes determine the final specs for an application. 
  • Starting with prototyping ultimately makes the development time shorter. 

Prototype Goals 

One of the biggest benefits from building prototypes is that they can expose potential problems or unstated assumptions that can be addressed well in advance of development. Prototype goals include:

Communication Advantages of Prototypes 

One of the biggest advantages prototypes deliver is with communication. They help align the development team across all parts of the project by providing a good overall picture of what is desired.  The prototype can be used as a developer guide and in the testing phase to ensure styling and flow are correct. 

Prototypes facilitate client communication. Building prototypes can help root out edge-cases, or situations that are exceptions to a process the customer would like to streamline in their project. Prototypes show what the solution will really be able to do and what it will look like.  They help the client identify what features are really needed and what features are not. 

To Recap 

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a prototype is worth a thousand meetings.  They reduce meetings, conversations, and questions. All of that is especially helpful in large projects. Prototypes visualize a model of the application.  

Prototypes help the client understand that software development is an iterative process where their rapid feedback can quickly determine the best way to build projects. As a result, using a prototype will reduce time and cost in development, which is important to any business owner. 

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