Prototype hard & early or go home

Or why I believe you should front-load your early sprints with prototyping.

As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a fan of prototyping.

There is a popular meme ‘A prototype is worth a thousand meetings’ and whilst a bit glib it holds weight. Rather than explain, a good prototype can show. Explanation is often open to interpretation, showing how things work, or how you intend them to work with something physical is less so.

a prototype is worth a thousand meetings

The benefits of prototyping are multiple. Untested hypotheses are just assumptions even when backed by the best data. Prototyping both UX & functional, allow the team to rapidly prove (or fail) learn and move on, which is at the heart of what we are trying to do. After all you want to discover early if a feature is viable or not.

Don’t discount the benefits in checking shared understanding of requirements. I’ve been on a few projects where everyone’s reviewed a feature story, dutifully nodded worked out implementations details and then built something quite different from the intended feature. [Read more…]