Authors: Steven Ormston - ServiceNow Account Manager, Agnieszka Milecka - Marketing Manager
Prototyping is a development stage to enhance the development of your ServiceNow instance or any other piece of software with a visualization of a target feature, dashboard or entire system. Proved to do wonders in the automotive industry, it’s does the same in software development projects, where it helps to:
ServiceNow features are a great example where prototyping comes in handy. Examples?
Consider an organisation struggling to manage the process of recording time cards for employees. Their team is working from several locations on a number of different contracts or tasks. Historically, this business handled these on paper and manually.
As time and technology progressed, the company favored an Excel-based approach for collecting the data. The process required to calculate costs for the associated employee wages and/or customer invoices. Now a much more sophisticated solution is in place that integrates with the payroll system and CRM systems for invoicing.
The past process
The use of a technological solution doesn’t mean that the process is efficient and effective:
On the way to a new solution
The organisation wants to streamline and automate this process. After gathering the requirements and understanding the existing process, the project team starts to get a clearer picture of the AS IS and the TO BE processes. The gap in the middle is going to be the project for a new solution.
The team seems to have an understanding of this gap and the requirements, but they don’t know exactly how the new solution should look like and how it will perform.
A prototype or proof of concept (PoC) can be a suitable way to communicate this to a customer. By creating an interactive and clickable visualization of the system based on the the requirements, the project team can demonstrate how it can look like, how users interact with the interface etc.
This visualization means that the customer will find it much easier to provide feedback. The suggestions shared will be a recipe for a better end product.
Prototyping is an additional stage to include in your delivery process and takes time and costs. However, this one is only a superficial cost, and as at the end of the day prototyping facilitates the development process, helps reduce the number of iterations, prevents nonfunctional delivery and poor user experience.
Yet, either in the ServiceNow environment or any other, prototypes don’t suit every project or business objectives. Here are pros and cons of using this tool.
Overall, prototyping is a useful stage to assist a project team during the design phase. It can be very effective for the agreement of the design elements. The added layer of visualization is perfect for showing users what they can expect from a new solution. However, it shouldn’t be automatically included for every project as it can absorb unnecessary time and budget.
If the requirements are functional and clearly understood, it’s useless to spend additional time on prototyping. One of the advantages of developing on a platform like ServiceNow, is the configuration and time spent producing a prototype isn’t wasted. This work can often be reused and just extended during the main project.
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