Prototyping is a norm in almost every field of engineering. Every complex engineering project undergo prototyping is some form, and it makes the end result more clear to eveyone involved.
With software engineering, prototyping again provides same utility. Be it a startup trying to build a great idea, or a corporate trying to build incremental toolset, prototyping can help get clarity for everyone involved.
For me it’s next to impossible to communicate my ideas without a prototype. Because when I build one, I am more clear with myself, I need very less explanation, and others can see what I am trying to communicate.
These are the main reasons why I think prototyping is important.
1. Validate the idea
There are lot of projects that go wrong because the idea itself was not good. On the other hand there are a lot of great ideas that do not get built, because no one else thought it was a good one. The only real way to validate an idea is to present it to as many people. Not just ask their opinion on it, getting their opinion after trying what it would be like.
People don’t know what they want until you show it to them
Prototyping helps bridge this gap. It creates something that others can see quickly and at a low cost. It allows other people to try the idea for real and get a better impression. It allows to get real feedback on the idea, rather than their individual perception.
3. Plan better
Tackle the unknowns early.
4. More agile
Faster and cheaper changes at the begining.
5. Better solutions
See your idea in action quickly, and improve early.