Evolutionary Prototyping


Evolutionary Prototyping is quite different from Throwaway Prototyping. The main goal when using Evolutionary Prototyping is to build a very robust prototype in a structured manner and constantly refine it. “The reason for this is that the Evolutionary prototype, when built, forms the heart of the new system, and the improvements and further requirements will be built. When developing a system using Evolutionary Prototyping, the system is continually refined and rebuilt. This technique allows the development team to add features, or make changes that couldn’t be conceived during the requirements and design phase.

Evolutionary Prototyping have an advantage over Throwaway Prototyping in that they are functional systems. Although they may not have all the features the users have planned, they may be used on an interim basis until the, final system is delivered. It is not unusual within a prototyping environment for the user to put an initial prototype to practical use while waiting for a more developed version.The user may decide that a ‘flawed’ system is better than no system at all

In Evolutionary Prototyping, developers can focus themselves to develop parts of the system that they understand instead of working on developing a whole system. To minimize risk, the developer does not implement poorly understood features. The partial system is sent to customer sites. As users work with the system, they detect opportunities for new features and give requests for these features to developers. Developers then take these enhancement requests along with their own and use sound configuration-management practices to change the software-requirements specification, update the design, recode and retest.

Best Projects to Use Prototyping

It has been argued that prototyping, in some form or another, should be used all the time. However, protttyping is most beneficial in systems that will have many interactions with the users.

It has been found that prototyping is very effective in the analysis and design of on-line systems, especially for transaction processing, where the use of screen dialogs is much more in evidence. The greater the interaction between the computer and the user, the greater the benefit is that can be obtained from building a qui.ck system and letting the user play with it.

Systems with little user interaction, such as batch processing or systems that mostly do calculations, benefit little from prototyping. Sometimes, the coding needed to perform the system functions may be too intensive and the potential gains that prototyping could provide are too small.

Prototyping is especially good for designing good human-computer interfaces. “One of the most productive uses of rapid prototyping to date has been as a tool for iterative user requirements engineering and human-computer interface design.”

Advantages of Prototyping

There are many advantages to using prototyping in software development which are as follows :

  1. Reduced time and costs: Prototyping can improve the quality of requirements and specifications provided to developers. Because changes cost exponentially more to implement as they are detected later in development, the early determination of what the user really wants can result in faster and less expensive software.
  2. Improved and increased user involvement: Prototyping requires user involvement and allows them to see and interact with a prototype allowing them to provide better and more complete feedback and specifications. The presence of the prototype being examined by the user prevents many misunderstandings and miscommunications that occur when each side believe the other understands what they Since users know the problem domain better than anyone on the development team does, increased interaction can result in final product that has greater tangible and intangible quality. The final product is more likely to satisfy the users desire for look, feel and performance.

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