Having spent over 60 years working with a variety of partners to produce the latest prototypes, we’ve experienced modern consumers demanding ever more functionality and design from development projects. Coupled with a rise in complexity and shorter deadlines, these changes have now made prototyping a necessity for most product development.
As an organisation, you justifiably require proofs for most new business activities. With model making and prototyping, a ‘proof of concept’ is usually required as part of your initial feasibility testing, prior to making a financial commitment.
In this article, we’ve put our heads together to bring you the benefits and challenges of prototyping for your project.
Time and costs: Prototyping at an early stage in the project can improve accuracy, quality and the final specifications, by identifying errors and weaknesses before the more expensive implementation stage. The fact that changes cost exponentially more the later they are detected in a project or during development, the earlier details are agreed and a clear picture of the users requirements can be built, the faster the project can progress with reduced costs. Prototyping introduces a rare opportunity to test the solution and confirm its suitability before theoretical maturity, at a fraction of the production cost.
Interaction and user involvement: Throughout the prototyping process it is important to obtain as much feedback as possible through effective interaction and involvement. Ultimately this process will lead to, a more complete understanding of your project, help to steer development and provide precise deliverables. User interaction also helps to prevent any misunderstandings, confirming at an earlier stage that your product satisfies the user’s specific needs.
Communication: Prototyping your latest product or idea is an extremely valuable resourced for community business requirements to your specified engineers, developers or architects. It goes above and beyond any brief and helps to deliver your vision in a way that will help and inspire your project co-workers. If finance or company support is required for your project to go-ahead, a prototype is frequently used to engage both internal and external stakeholders.
Performance: With larger-scale projects, where lots of stakeholders are involved, users and managers can develop an unrealistic interpretation of the prototype or model and its intended use. This is seen mostly in the expectation that a prototype would accurately model the performance of the final system. Users can also become attached to certain features within the prototype that may be removed from the final deliverable due to cost and the chosen method of production.
Analysis: The completion and execution of the prototype does not necessarily mirror the anticipated success of your project. It’s important not to put all your project ‘eggs’ into your prototyping ‘basket’. Making development teams analyse the project as a whole. Continually seek better solutions and adaptations. There might be limitations to the functionality of your prototype. To overcome this, team’s need to visualise the final deliverable and ensure any modifications are scalable.
If you would like to discuss your project requirements, call us on 01462 682661.