While scanning through Allison’s copy of Designing for the Digital Age: How to Create Human-Centered Products and Services, I came across this nugget.
The problem with software prototypes
It seems to be widely understood that industrial design and mechanical engineering prototypes—from paperclips and tape to polished appearance models—are disposable learning tools. Prototyping is clearly distinct from manufacturing, so it would be ludicrous to think that even a late-stage prototype could be reused as part of the final product. In software, however, the tools used for anything other than paper prototyping are generally the same tools used for “manufacturing” (i.e., writing production code). For this reason, many stakeholders can’t see why a detailed prototype that appears functional is still many months away from completion.
The author continues with…
It’s important to educate stakeholders that prototype code is kind of like the illusion of automatic doors on Star Trek—it looks like it’s working, but it’s really a guy standing behind the wall pulling a rope.
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