Saturday, February 28, 2009

Prototyping as a Task Interference

Prototyping allows the users to try out a working model of a system before the actual system is complete. Explain how prototyping can be counterproductive if it creates task interference during training.

I’m a bit confused with the use of the word “training”. So, I will base my answer on the task interference caused by prototyping during the whole development period.

Prototyping is advantageous when it comes to user involvement, reduction of development cost, and getting higher user satisfaction. However, prototyping does not only address problems but may also introduce some of them. One of the problems that may be introduced by prototyping is causing the project to be counterproductive.

First of all, prototyping may cause insufficient analysis. This means that developers might make the mistake of using the prototype as the basis for developing the final product. This limits the solutions for the problem and may overlook project specifications.

Second is user confusion of prototype and finished system. Users often mistake the prototype as the final deliverable that only needs some finishing up. This is a misleading belief that could lead to the prototype being counterproductive. Indeed, prototypes are working models of the final product but they are NOT the final product.

Another interference that may be caused by prototyping is developer attachment to the prototype. If the developer spent so much time making the prototype, in a way, it causes him to be unable to let go of it and use it instead to develop the final product. This can lead to problems like attempting to convert a limited prototype into a final system when it does not have an appropriate underlying architecture.

Probably the most obvious interference is the excessive development time of the prototype. Prototypes are supposed to be done quickly but developers sometimes get carried away and forget this. They may try to develop a prototype that is too complex and get stuck perfecting the prototype details. This can lead to excessive time wastage, time that should have been used to develop the final product instead.

Finally is the expense of implementing prototyping. Since prototypes are working models or representations of the final, real product, company’s also need to invest money in the prototyping process. If the company and the developers don’t have a tight grasp on the focus of the project, they may invest too much in the prototype and allocate less resources to the development of the real project.

I would just like to point out for a second time a very important matter that should always be kept in mind by the developers, the company, and even the users: even though a prototype is a working model of the final product, it is NOT the final product.

1 comment:

  1. Task interference can occur when system users attempt to learn a new system and must block out familiar activities in order to learn new ones. Task interference becomes counterproductive to prototyping if the prototype is delivered as an increment to the final delivery and functionality is significantly different from that of the previous (older) system.