Guest blogger: Grant Lee, Lead Engineer

The famous architect Frank Gehry was known to use construction paper and tape to quickly build dozens of prototypes for his buildings. In a similar vein, Flite’s Engineering team builds prototypes to develop software for a powerful cloud-based ad platform.

The two major benefits of prototyping in the context of software development are:

  1. It can help stakeholders confirm the direction that the product is taking.
  2. Engineers can identify potential technical pitfalls and limitations early on in the development cycle.

The real benefit is that a prototype is a small investment you can afford to lose.  It doesn’t matter if the prototype fails or is imperfect. Why? Because the prototype’s failure closes the door to undesirable options early on, which is better than investing in a specific path and having the product fail at the final stage. These small “failures” actually lead to the success of a product and help to guide it’s direction. 

Prototypes are inexpensive and provide value. Teams can learn a lot without huge financial repercussions or strain on engineering resources. One of the most impressive things that we do at Flite is prototype using our own tools and products. We create prototypes or mocks of anything from marketing landing pages to mini-CMS systems using our platform. 

Of course, we also use prototyping in the sense of traditional software engineering, but these examples are a testament to how our products help people and organizations succeed through the power of agile methodologies.