Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Proof of Concept

I have a project going on now that's a proof of concept; working with a client to demonstrate how my company's software can solve their business needs.

Obviously, there are some shortcuts that I can take on this project. For one, I don't have to worry as much about testing because the application is not going to go to production. However, in good agile technique, we are testing during each iteration. At the end, we want to demonstrate a system that works, even though we may not go through all the corner cases we might in a thorough testing approach.

We also don't have to worry about documentation. We'll show the end users how to use the tool, but we don't have to worry about future users. We also don't have to worry about support documentation.

We also didn't do as much up-front work. Typically, because it is a process improvement project, we'll look at the as-is process and figure out the ideal to-be process to implement, then start development based on improvements we've uncovered. In this case, we are just re-implementing the as-is process with the only improvements being what comes with our software; things like improved efficiency, better reporting, better tracking of resources and workloads among other things.

So a proof of concept should be just a first step. Assuming we are successful, we will be able to come in and really help our client. So while the demands on this project aren't as big as a full blown implementation, we still need to show business value. On any project, that's really what it comes down to.


lucian said...

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curiouscat said...

Proof of concept style development is very in line with agile development. Produce working software quickly and see it in use. Depending on the situation it will only be for testing purposes and then you take a new project to create the production application. But in some instances this can actually just go right into production in a test mode.

I avoid the old long term, complex, expensive software projects that fail often as much as possible. Use new tools (like Ruby on Rails) and new development philosophies (like agile development) to create quick, inexpensive, solutions. This won't work all the time but it sure works for many things.

Whoever looks to crazy things like hugely expensive, inflexible ERP solutions these days I think is just asking for pain and failure. People need to view software applications as serving the users not users being forced to comply with inflexible software.

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