The Process

In using prototyping as an analysis tool, emphasis should be placed on analysis. That is, the process of prototyping is used as a discovery tool that is used to identify business needs. Sauter (2008) identifies four prototyping steps in analysis: functional selection, construction, evaluation, and further use.

First, the functions are determined based upon business need and are designed to be put into the prototype. Second, construction of the prototype begins. Third, the prototype is evaluated. The focus of the evaluation is upon the design and functional ability of the prototype. Finally, the prototype is either undergoes continued development, through incremental change in deployment to production, or is discarded.

The prototyping process is used to identify important functional elements. The prototype may reveal functional gaps in the developer's understanding versus what a customer may want or need. Therefore, this prototyping process is vital in shaping the final product to be used by the customer.

McConnell (1998) raises an important issue in the creation of the prototype and client’s expectation. More specifically, the client must understand, even during the analysis phases that the prototype is not the final system.