Exploring trends and developments in project management today.

Defining Your Approach

Question 15: Have you based your development on a prototyping iterative approach?

Customer reviewing a prototype on a computer

21 Ways to Excel at Project Management

Good Practice: Developing a prototype will breathe some life into the requirements gathering process. People can find it difficult to engage in dry documents; where a screen-based prototype can bring the debate to life.

"Prototyping involves feedback from customers to developers on a trial based product. Each time a new prototype is released, it is usually an enhancement of a previous one. The evolutionary prototype often becomes the final product. Prototyping was first recognised as a software development approach when developers found that they couldn't figure out all the requirements, until work had started on the project." ¹

Basing the development on a series of prototypes will create a perception of early delivery to the users and a feeling of involvement in and commitment to the development process.

You should involve a large population of users in prototype reviews as early as possible. This ensures that a large percentage of users will already have seen the system through demonstrations and training sessions before the 'go-live' date. This provides a high-level of confidence the system meets user needs and it highlights early on, any problem areas needing more attention.

Skipping this step and going straight to build may result in costly rework.

Common Mistakes

  • Basing user requirements on large documents only.
  • Not using an iterative prototyping approach.
  • Not involving enough 'real' users.

¹ ContekSoft, Prototype Development Approach, Glossary.