When it comes to choosing the best software development method for your project, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Trying to force your project into a particular approach can be an exercise in frustration for all involved. Instead, you should choose the method that will best fit the parameters of your project.

To do this, you first need to understand the difference between agile and prototyping.

The best choice will depend on the complexity, cost, and size of your project, and whether you have any investors or stakeholders to keep happy along the way.

Here’s what you should know about the difference between agile and prototyping:

Prototyping

Prototyping begins before development is underway. Prototypes can range from a quick sketch on a whiteboard to a fully interactive mockup.

The first step is an initial prototype of the project, which will be presented so you can give feedback. Each prototype is then refined, and the process uses a trial-and-error approach until the last prototype is finalised, and development can begin.

Prototyping allows you to experiment and spot bugs early on in the process. You and your team can see how your product would be used, and how each change would impact the end-result. You can also easily change direction if you find that you have too many features or the design is not user-friendly.

During the prototype model, you’re constantly kept updated throughout the process, and your feedback is continually incorporated. This can lead to a better overall result for end users.

When should you use prototyping?

Prototyping is a good choice if you have an idea or plan for your project, but you’re wondering whether it will be feasible. It can also provide you and your team with clarity if you’re not entirely sure about the direction or requirements of your project.

You may also find that you’re ready to get started on a project, but investors or stakeholders are unable to see the value. In this case, you can provide decision-makers with an interactive wireframe so you can communicate key ideas.

Prototyping is also a solid choice if you have a small budget. The more time spent in development, the more your project is likely to cost. Instead, working with increasingly functional prototypes will mean that developers can spot issues and bugs early on. That way, large problems can be solved well before development has begun- when issues are much more time-consuming and expensive to fix.

Difference between agile development and prototyping

Agile Development

Agile is a development methodology. Basically, the developers will develop and test in different stages (iterations) instead of waiting until the whole product has been completed.

Agile is popular due to its detailed, accurate, consistent, and simple nature. The software is delivered in small parts, which are considered to be miniature projects themselves. Just as the director of a play will work on each scene individually before putting it all together, the agile model is about breaking a large project down into multiple iterations.

These iterations are called sprints, and they can help minimise risk. That’s because the agile development methodology involves a cycle of planning, testing, integration, and risk evaluation. This reduces the chances that your project will fail.

When should you use agile development?

Agile is a good choice if your requirements are continually changing. You can pivot later in the development process, instead of following a predetermined structure or development plan.

With agile development, it’s easy to measure your progress, since you can easily see how much work has been completed. It may also be the best option if you’re on a tight deadline, since agile allows for a rapid delivery.

The key with agile? Ensure you have an experienced project manager, so that the project doesn’t become a large series of sprints which can lead to a budget blowout.

Should you choose agile development or prototyping?

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both agile development and prototyping. If a software development company tells you that they work with one single approach, methodology, or process, run- don’t walk. A great firm will understand that every project, client, and development team is different and their approach should vary accordingly.

We’ll recommend the best choice based on your specific needs. Get in touch today and let’s talk.

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