Key Benefits of using Prototyping tools with Agile
Using already Agile the last years, our team is already addressing head-on the pitfalls of traditional software development (late-stage changes, involving the customer too late in the process, etc). Now, we can make your team even more efficient, communicate with stakeholders more clearly, and track all design decisions by incorporating prototyping into our existing Agile development process.
With Agile, how do you know when you're "done"?
Even the most successful Agile teams can have problems adequately defining what it means to be "done" with a user story. Particularly when building software or websites for consumer consumption, determining whether a feature is ready for release can be a challenge. Various Agile teams define this differently (ready to ship at the end of a sprint, one sprint away from being ready to ship, etc.).
Agile acknowledges the need to continuously build a working system so that stakeholders can be engaged throughout the development process. While this allows course corrections to occur quickly, they are still costly. Increasing the clarity of your requirements up-front is the best way to mitigate the risk of slipped deadlines or even worse, additional iterations. Having completed—and adequately tested— code doesn't mean that it's releasable.
In the worst case scenario, the Product Owner and the rest of the team disagree about the meaning of user stories, and this is only discovered at the end of the sprint. More likely, the development uncovers issues or features that are required to be complete before new functionality is actually releasable to the customer.
Now these features can be added to the next sprint, which is good, but the code is not releasable at the end of the current sprint. This situation is caused by a failure to package work items into a sprint that provides adequate quantum of value. Most often, this failure is due to lack of clarity in the user story.
This is where prototyping can help. By prototyping stories and using a backlog, ambiguities and hidden user stories can be uncovered before a sprint starts. Acceptance tests can be illustrated in the prototype. This allows better agreement with the Product Owner and clarifies the definition of "done". It also gives the Product Owner tools to communicate with other stakeholders about the business value. When you protoype, the result is more clarity in the stories, fewer missing stories, more thorough test cases and wider agreement on business value.
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