Prototype Design Phase
Prototypes are the centerpiece of PCA's
custom design-build process. At the outset of a new project, Prototypes allow PCA and our Clients to get good answers to the same 3 questions we both have: What is the best
solution? How much will it cost? And, how long will it take? We rely on Application Prototypes to provide PCA and our Clients
with a simple, visual means to get good answers to these 3 key questions.
The outcome of the Prototype Design phase is
confidence that we are on the right track, a properly scoped project with reliable
budget and schedule estimates, and source-code to drive the Development Phase.
See sample Smart Client Prototype Applications
- The final, Client-approved
Prototype Design establishes solid engineering boundaries around the solution, and thus allows PCA to provide
reliable budget and schedule estimates for moving the Project forward.
- A Smart Client application Prototype consists of the complete application User Interface
— the main application layout, all the forms, buttons, lists, menu items, short-cuts,
etc. — and a preliminary back-end SQL Server database schema design (the underlying
data model structures and relationships that drive the User Interface features and
- Prototype designs may include elements from your existing application, and often include
new User Interface conventions that we have used successfully with other Clients. PCA
experts will engage your team in design review/feedback sessions, and refine the Prototype based
upon your continued feedback and preferences. Iterations to the Prototype design are
driven by a working Prototype application installed on your PC, accompanied by a ‘Paper Prototype’
that you mark-up and send to PCA with your comments.
- PCA will continue to refine the User Interface and underlying SQL database model until
you approve the results. A Prototype design round-trip cycle typically takes 2 to
4 weeks to complete, and consists of a Prototype release... Client feedback... follow-on questions and
clarification... coding... next Prototype release. In our experience, several Prototype
design iterations are sufficient to confirm application capabilities and Project scope. Additional
iterations may be required for larger, more complex applications. Prototypes: a simple analogy.
- PCA uses 100% of the Client-approved Prototype code for the Development Phase. PCA will provide you with an updated Project estimate based upon the results of the approved Prototype Design phase.