"Prototyping" Please respond to the following:

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Your boss decides that prototyping is the best approach on a design project. Describe to her the weaknesses and hazards associated with prototyping.

Nov 16th, 2014

Disadvantages of Prototyping process model

Insufficient analysis: The focus on a limited prototype can distract developers from properly analyzing the complete project. This can lead to overlooking better solutions, preparation of incomplete specifications or the conversion of limited prototypes into poorly engineered final projects that are hard to maintain. Further, since a prototype is limited in functionality it may not scale well if the prototype is used as the basis of a final deliverable, which may not be noticed if developers are too focused on building a prototype as a model.

User confusion of prototype and finished system: Users can begin to think that a prototype, intended to be thrown away, is actually a final system that merely needs to be finished or polished. (They are, for example, often unaware of the effort needed to add error-checking and security features which a prototype may not have.) This can lead them to expect the prototype to accurately model the performance of the final system when this is not the intent of the developers. Users can also become attached to features that were included in a prototype for consideration and then removed from the specification for a final system. If users are able to require all proposed features be included in the final system this can lead to conflict.

Developer misunderstanding of user objectives: Developers may assume that users share their objectives (e.g. to deliver core functionality on time and within budget), without understanding wider commercial issues. For example, user representatives attending Enterprise software (e.g. PeopleSoft) events may have seen demonstrations of "transaction auditing" (where changes are logged and displayed in a difference grid view) without being told that this feature demands additional coding and often requires more hardware to handle extra database accesses. Users might believe they can demand auditing on every field, whereas developers might think this is feature creep because they have made assumptions about the extent of user requirements. If the solution provider has committed delivery before the user requirements were reviewed, developers are between a rock and a hard place, particularly if user management derives some advantage from their failure to implement requirements.

Developer attachment to prototype: Developers can also become attached to prototypes they have spent a great deal of effort producing; this can lead to problems like attempting to convert a limited prototype into a final system when it does not have an appropriate underlying architecture. (This may suggest that throwaway prototyping, rather than evolutionary prototyping, should be used.)

Excessive development time of the prototype: A key property to prototyping is the fact that it is supposed to be done quickly. If the developers lose sight of this fact, they very well may try to develop a prototype that is too complex. When the prototype is thrown away the precisely developed requirements that it provides may not yield a sufficient increase in productivity to make up for the time spent developing the prototype. Users can become stuck in debates over details of the prototype, holding up the development team and delaying the final product.

Expense of implementing prototyping: the start up costs for building a development team focused on prototyping may be high. Many companies have development methodologies in place, and changing them can mean retraining, retooling, or both. Many companies tend to just jump into the prototyping without bothering to retrain their workers as much as they should.


Nov 16th, 2014

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Nov 16th, 2014
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