Introduction

Throughout the centuries, mankind has used modeling to mimic entities or to test how potential entities may behave under certain conditions. Through modeling, a number of benefits should be realized. Time may be saved. Cost savings may be realized, and in some situations, even life and limb may be spared. Whatever the potential benefit, modeling has certainly proven itself a valuable tool in countless situations. These great benefits hold true even in systems analysis. In this writing, a special type of modeling tool will be examined: prototyping.

Prototyping, in systems analysis, plays a unique role in the analysis phase by providing a unique view to analysts and customers. It allows facilitates communication between the analyst and customer. Further, it assists in the identification of requirements. Ribeiro and Bunker (1988) aptly stated:

    "it is easier to verify the correctness of a prototype than it is to verify the correctness of the lower level diagrams generated during the early phases of structured analysis."

Kendall and Kendall (2005) identify two distinct ways that prototyping can be used. First, it can be used as a rapid systems development approach. Second, it can be used “chiefly as a requirements determination technique” (Kendall and Kendall, 2005). Furthermore, Fruhling and de Vreede (2006) provide field evidence that prototyping, in the latter view, is a valuable tool in that it:

    “enabled information technology developers and users to clarify system requirements, communicate openly, quickly build rapport, and create an interface that was easy to use and learn.”

Gordon and Bieman (1995) and Davis (1992) emphasize the increase in quality and success for the overall project by using prototyping.