You might as well plan to mess up, you will anyway (it’s about prototyping)

If there’s one thing that is painfully common in software, it’s projects going over budget and over time. What most business-headed folk and, you know, “projecty people” struggle with is any sort of waste product or failure. That’s expensive, right?

No. Fail. Fail 10 times. Keep failing until you know, confidently, what you definitely should not build. There’s a great Franklin D. Roosevelt quote:

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

The whole thing can be summarised pretty well with the last 2 words — “try something”

This guy, FDR, was born in 1882 and came out with that gem. What a guy.

A prototype could help reduce the financial cost of failure

Employing prototyping as a service design methodology, not just an interaction/visual design methodology, lets you test the end to end service, the entire user journey. In an agile project it stops you working on story cards which end up in the bin, in the waterfall world it should drastically reduce the stress levels at that time when the UAT team tell you in a not-so-gentle fashion that what you’ve build is 10% genius, 40% improved, 15% completely hidden and 35% tripe.

So go forth and make a throwaway system. Spend a bit of time and money making a thing you’re going to throw away, whatever you do please just try things and test them, and if they’re tripe, throw them away!

There’s another quote which I’ll leave you with, this time from the genius Fred Brooks:

The management question, therefore, is not whether to build a pilot system and throw it away. You will do that. […] Hence plan to throw one away; you will, anyhow.