Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Three Reasons for another Prototyping Tool

I share this view from Gartner analyst Mark McDonald and many other analysts that there is a business-IT gap in typical software development process, especially at the requirements capture stage, which "is the basis for business and IT conversation". The fact is often times as a project progresses from requirements to detailed design and coding, team members change, project locations shift. Not that there is a dearth of PMI best practices in place or CMM models to oversee governance. Projects slip!

I presume there could be two reasons here. The obvious one is requirements rigor. Design Specs are outlined in lesser time than desirable. Secondly, there is a different granularity of information capture and sharing across team and over project life cycle using a variety of artifacts, with conversations loosely bound together by long chains of emails and  telecons. But still various, relevant perspectives of the analysts, the sponsor, developers, UI designers, don't come together into a single big picture that addresses original project charter. Requirements lie scattered across documents, Visio flows, PowerPoint slides, UI prototypes (requires coding), UI wireframes and sketches (differing fidelity), technical requirements documents, etc.and each follows different conventions, representation styles.

10Screens was conceptualized to make it easy to create a consistent, high fidelity view within short span of time using drag drop interface. It allows teams to illustrate highly finished looking screen designs and process flow charts in a single space to bring all stakeholders on to the same page and comment in page. 10Screens is being entirely online facilitates sharing and collaboration.

Another thing about, most prototypes is that they remain as specs and almost never make it to production code. The third reason for another prototyping tool is the opportunity to use the iterated prototype as final, finished in production UI! The impact of this is on overall effort, as it saves precious developer time who need not code the UI and instead focus only on business logic, putting together the server side - making calls to database, retrieving and serving client requests, etc. We have been trying this with simple apps and it seems to work. We are excited about the possibilities and promise to keep you posted out here. We plan to launch a 'Backend as a Service' into which the prototype can directly connect with. Of course, all this is Cloud based.

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