In a classic development processes a waterfall model describes how to develop one solution at a time, evaluate it and make a decision to use it or to abandon the idea.
Often you stick to a solution that you are not entirely satisfied with because it is expensive and cumbersome to revert to an earlier stage in the development model to search for new and better ideas.
We have spend a vast amount of time on the solution because we wanted it to work and the thought of pivoting just before a stage gate is frightening us. So, we defend our solutions, even if the are bad and we argue that we have to follow the time plan to call the project a succes.
Using parallel prototyping enforces a wider solution space from the very beginning and helps you develop a better product.
Make sure to define overall properties of the product. Use customer feedback and decide on properties within the time, quality and cost and to three or more project ideas that targets these parameters. When you are done. Combine the best parts from each project, squeeze them together in one product and see how they reinforce each other.
By using parallel prototyping you find that little window of excellence, where you realize what are the best properties of each solution and you can combine these to something extraordinary.
Succes criteria for parallel prototyping
- The team is working on several solutions at the same time
- Quality of products increase. Lead time decreases and Costs will decrease (in the long term)
- The organization learns faster and will deliver faster (in the long term)
This chapter is part of the article Lean Project Management published by Kristian Steen Holme and presented at Ledernes Projektday May 2013.
Each chapter serves to present a practice or a process that can be applied to any development process.
Some practices and processes are interlinked and may combined serve a higher purpose than a single practice or process.