Good Practice: Developing a prototype will breathe life into the requirements-gathering process. People can find it challenging 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.
It is best to involve many users in prototype reviews as early as possible. This approach ensures that many users have seen the system through demonstrations and training sessions before the go-live date. This will provide high confidence that the system meets user needs and highlights any problem areas needing more attention early on.
Skipping this prototyping step and going straight to build may result in costly rework.
1 ContekSoft, Prototype Development Approach, Glossary.
Question 15: Have you based your development on an iterative prototyping approach?
Question 18: Have you conducted a post implementation review?