Experience your new system before it is even built
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping is an offering APG has applied to nearly every project we undertake. Within minutes of discussing your ideas for a new software platform, our talented experience designers can begin assembling a realistic prototype of the system. Soon thereafter, the prototype can be enhanced with conditional logic, dynamic content, animations, math functions, and data-driven interactions - without writing a single line of code.
Seeing is believing! How many times have you built a new system based upon a lengthy Word document full of “shall” statements or user stories? Or perhaps your analysts creating static wireframes - nothing you could click on and experience interaction. Most people are visual thinkers, so we begin by creating mock-ups, then we make them clickable and interactive. Our prototypes have been used to train employees, sell systems and secure venture capital funding, and guide development teams with an unambiguous blueprint from which to build.
Think of prototyping as the very best insurance policy for software development projects.
A Geneca study found that 75% of software development projects are doomed to fail. Rapid prototyping is the single best approach to hedging that risk. The study offers the following insights:
Lack of confidence in project success: 75% of respondents admit that their projects are either always or usually “doomed right from the start.”
Rework wariness: 80% admit they spend at least half their time on rework.
Business involvement is inconsistent or results in confusion: 78% feel the business is usually or always out of sync with project requirements and business stakeholders need to be more involved and engaged in the requirements process.
Fuzzy business objectives: Only 55% feel that the business objectives of their projects are clear to them.
Requirements definition processes do not reflect business need: Less than 20% describe the requirements process as the articulation of business need.
Lack of complete agreement when projects are done: Only 23% state they are always in agreement when a project is truly done.
By prototyping the experience, stakeholders will be in alignment, will see the end result before the first line of code is written, and can make rapid adjustments as business priorities change.
What about Written Requirements?
Written requirements are critical to the success of any software development project. APG visualizes first, then writes supporting requirements second. Each requirement is traced to the visualized screen so that there is practically zero risk of missed or misunderstood requirements.
An iterative approach to rapidly prototyping your future-state systems
Rapid prototyping is iterative in nature. We begin at the highest level to understand the personas (users) the system must serve. What do they like? What do they dislike? How are they motivated? We then take iterative passes until we reach the level of detail necessary to form good prototypes and requirements.
Following personas, we create an inventory of all key functions you anticipate each user will need in the system: what will they add, remove, calculate, send, receive, or automate? Remember - users are people too! We keep employee and customer experience at top of mind throughout this process.
Next, we begin visualizing the step-by-step ‘happy path’ of completing each task. This may manifest as a simple three or four step process, or it may be a multi-step diverging process. We feel it is important to understand the process and gain stakeholder alignment early and confirm it often. We will also discuss any ‘unhappy path’ exceptions that could derail the process and how best to handle those.
By the way - all of this is done visually in tools like Axure and iRise, so that your stakeholders can follow along and have confidence at every step in the process. We love to do this in a workshop format, but can also facilitate off-line or virtual sessions.
Next, we build realistic, highly-interactive wireframes that look like the real system. These align to the processes and tasks identified. This is when we discuss field-level detail and begin capturing business rules that govern business or regulatory policies associated with the process.
Lastly, we write the supporting written requirements in the form of User Stories with Acceptance Criteria or Functional Requirements - which ever format best aligns to your desired development methodology. As your technology partner, APG can facilitate the smooth transition from Rapid Prototyping to development and beyond.