As a bespoke software development company, StyleTech want to ensure that the customer has no surprises at the end of the project. The bespoke software system should operate exactly how the customer envisages it. To ensure the customer fully understands exactly what they will be receiving at the end of the project, StyleTech produce bespoke prototypes before a single line of code is written. A prototype is similar to a PowerPoint presentation where each screen is a PowerPoint slide.
Before prototypes, documents would have to be written that detailed all of the aspects of the proposed bespoke software system. The customer would then have to read these documents and interpret and understand them correctly which is rare with such documents (these documents can be hundreds of pages).
When StyleTech want to ensure the business rules or workflow of a proposed bespoke software system is correct, then a wire-frame prototype is created (with no graphical elements). A wire-frame prototype helps focus the customer on the business rules or workflow rather than on the graphical design of the proposed bespoke software system.
When StyleTech want to ensure the graphic design or user interface of a proposed bespoke software system is correct, then a full graphical prototype is created. A graphical prototype ensures that the customer likes the look and feel of the system and the customer branding and terminology is also correct.
If the prototype requires any changes, StyleTech can then make those changes very quickly as no code needs to be changed and tested, which also helps the analysis and design process to continue on schedule as delays in waiting for responses are minimal (prototype discussions can also be held over the web, reducing travelling time/cost).
The final bespoke software system is more robust as the prototype helps to potentially reduce the number of changes which may be required during the coding process. Most bugs are introduced into software systems when changes are made during the development process, especially at the end of the coding process.
The prototype can also help the customer by allowing the customer to show the proposed bespoke software system to more people (e.g. viewing the PowerPoint on the company Intranet). This can stop the “no one asked me” syndrome which is common during software development projects and can also lead to smoother implementations.