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Rapid Prototyping Practices for Software Engineers

2020-08-31 hqt

How Software Engineers Can Improve the Rapid Prototyping Process?

When you are able to test the validity of your ideas via rapid prototyping, you will notice a boost in the overall innovation performance. Evaluating and capturing ideas at pace is a precondition for real innovation.

The lack of proper framework, rapid testing, and audience understanding would render even great ideas useless. Of course, you can choose the storyboards and static wire-frames. However, a functional realistic prototype would be a superior basis for evaluation.

In addition, it would provide engineers the insights on architectural options, feasibility, along with implementation strategies. In order to meet the rapid prototyping fast-pace deadlines, you need to have two things, first resources’ repository and second the accurate development approach.

Resources include the APIs, data models, UI elements, components, code libraries. They should be easily discoverable and have the potential to be part of a new application. Below are some effective tips for software engineers.

Translating Ideas into Functional Products Using Rapid Prototyping

For starters, it is important to analyze the validation of the idea request for a new prototype. You need to focus on whether the idea is fully developed or not. Does it have a strong problem statement?  Are there any defined outputs?

In case, you are unable to find the above information, you need to reach out to your client and ask them for more information. In an ideal case, you would have an experienced multidisciplinary team. The team would effectively comprehend the concept.

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They would breakdown the functional elements and find similar projects completed in the past. After all, reusing the previous components would help save time and energy. In rapid prototyping, re-usability is the key to success.

Reusing your components would significantly decrease the time to create prototypes. Not only this, the engineering development cost reduces as well.  Therefore, it is important to discover the relevant projects that you completed in the past. Highly the reusable components for your prototyping repository.

Scope Clarity is important for Prototyping

Since the main objective of rapid prototyping is to come up with functional prototypes of the idea to collect user feedback and input. Therefore, you fully need to understand your user. Think like a user and then summarize your scope.

A great way to go about is to shortlist some well-defined stories by the users.

Decision Making

In rapid prototyping, you need to understand and prioritize your work. There is no need to build non-critical components such as authentication mechanisms, a new language, etc. Try using what you have already for these particular aspects.

Discuss Regarding Component building for Effective Prototyping

In order to discuss component building, you require the concept’s functional decomposition as well as a higher level of logical architecture. When you are clear in this aspect, you will be able to efficiently iterate over the set of the protentional reusable components in the prototyping repository.

This further decreases the time required for prototyping. As you would not have to waste time to find the potentially reusable components. In case there are no similar components available for the reusing purpose, you need to find out the ones you should mock as well as the ones that make sense.

In order to find the one that requires building, you need to focus on the fundamentals of the specific ideas. Clearly focus on this as these are what you will expose to the real users in order to collect data and feedback.

In case the primary objective of the prototype is to test functionality or certain technology, you have a redefined focus area. For the rest, it is possible to use the static data approach.

Speed is Essential for Prototyping

You can use conventions in order to speed up the prototyping process. After all, your aim is to provide users with a realistic experience and not specifications for a production-ready system. Since you will be capturing feedback and proving certain technological aspects, there is no harm is eliminating certain constraints.

For instance, you can let go of the constraints related to production. You can always go with the lighter version of guidelines and the software development rules. It is possible to redefine the quality in terms of the prototype with a UX bias, instead of other technical factors including the optimized code.

For a prototype, you can hard code instead of optimizing it.

Build, Acquire Feedback, Repeat

One of the greatest advantages of rapid prototyping is that you can iterate fast. However, you need to take some steps to ensure a quick and effective iteration. Start with preparing your data, have a first UI version, offer basic end to end experience, incorporate the APIS, and show it to your stakeholders.

Once you collect the feedback, the process it quickly and then iterates towards having a more realistic implementation of the idea.

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Setting up Rapid Prototyping Factory

To streamline all your rapid prototyping efforts, it is a good idea to have a prototyping factory. A good prototyping factory can be really effective. Make sure your prototyping factor provides information about the following.

Standardized Data Sets for Prototyping

Standardized data sets have the ability to accelerate the development process. Regardless of the data type, may it be internal, artificial, real, or public, make sure that you can use it for your business anytime. For this purpose, ensure that the data has the compliance and privacy issues covered.

It should also enable realistic user-situations. Use Data Demographics report in order to summarize your data. These reports highly the key aspect of the data, making it possible to understand data quickly and efficiently.

Rapid Prototyping Data Models

For rapid prototyping, you should have properly documented object models as well as the data model. For instance, the generators, mappers, data converters, ETL pipelines, parsers, and several other tools. Using them with help increase the development speed of the prototyping process.

APIs Catalog for Rapid Prototyping

If you have well-documented APS, that you can reach out to easily and the quick start guides, it is possible to accelerate the rapid prototyping development phase.

Coding Templates and Software Components

Having a catalog of lower level software scripts, libraries, templates can also increase the pace of the prototyping process. Manufacturers can use components to refer to advanced situations or standard functionality. For example, the implementation of pipelines or special algorithms.

Take Away

Prototyping is an effective way to test the validation of your idea by providing users with first hand experience. You can reach out to us today for all your prototyping problems.