Prototypes should have the lowest degree of fidelity possible to accomplish the needs of the test. The only limit to who can build a prototype, or what format that prototype needs to be in, is the business case that needs tested.
Within the Agile Portfolio segment, prototypes are built to test general ideas and principles. The exact type of prototype will depend on the business case that is being tested. Here are some past examples of ideas that we’ve used prototypes to test:
- Vaporware: Vaporware prototypes are typically marketing efforts, used to prove that there is a market for a new product/feature, usually by offering to pre-sell that feature to new or existing customers. Popular implementations include microsites, product videos, and sales demos
- Paper prototypes: Proving quickly iterable and testable paper prototypes for internal and external stakeholders can be a great tool. Honest and creative relationships are needed before hand, and paper prototypes very rarely work for remote feedback sessions. For additional research read Sketching User Experience, by Bill Buxton.
- Technical proofs and spikes: Business cases and strategic goals that are outside the visual realm require technical proofs, spikes, and innovation sessions.
All of these activities should be broken into the smallest presentable piece and created within a defined schedule.