The Power of Prototyping and Value Driven Delivery


When resources are limited, timelines are tight and investment needs to be returned, quickly, leaders must ensure what we are working on will make a difference.

How do we know? We all like to think we have great ideas and we can predict what people want. We base these ideas on our own life experiences and perspectives, but let me ask you this, have you experienced a product or solutions initial release and felt it “lost its way”? If so, it likely ran into the scenario where decision makers, in some back office somewhere, assumed they knew more about their users than they really did.

Value Driven Delivery

Enter the concept of Value Driven software development. This isn’t a new concept, but it’s amazing how many teams still don’t use it every day in decision making. It’s a simple, yet noble concept: find out what your users need most and build that first. The catch is, don’t guess, test and learn rapidly, survey real customers and look for candid feedback.

This is where prototyping really shines. The process is pretty simple too:

  1. “Propose” a feature, design or concept
  2. Hand it over to your engineers to mock up using whatever tools they want (this is one of the best parts by the way)
  3. Sit and share with customers and have them use the concept
  4. Ask simple questions, “Would you use this feature?”, “Does this make things easier?” etc.
  5. Accept the feedback, revise the prototype if necessary, re-test
  6. Add feature to your product backlog

Following these simple steps will connect your teams with the consumers of your product and keep a finger on the pulse of what they demand of your product the most.

Benefits Beyond the Release

If this all sounds too convoluted I assure you your team will be more effective because they will work on features you know people want and need. Not to mention, it allows your engineering team to play, tinker and solve problems in creative ways that may not be possible in their day to day app delivery. This is key to building a happy engineering team and makes them more capable of adapting to the latest technology more effectively.

Seeing is Believing

UDig Innovation Studio engineers are often challenged with proof of concepts so we’ve seen the power this methodology brings.  We’ve used prototyping to help both business leaders looking to sell an idea and IT teams seeking to convince leadership to invest in new technologies. Either way seeing truly is believing! When your audience can touch, feel and interact with your idea, it provides a much more powerful demonstration.

Are you assuming you know what your consumers want? Or, can the power of prototyping help you exceed their expectations?

About The Author

Andrew Duncan is a Director of Software Engineering in Richmond, VA. He is a driven technologist focused on modern technology stacks and best practices. Andrew believes nothing is more rewarding than making software needs a reality with a focus on flexible, scalable and supportable code.