Michael Schrage writes about the culture of prototypes and talks about different prototyping techniques. My favorite?
How do those work? With periodic prototypes a team shows a new prototype on a regular schedule (every two weeks, for example) no matter the state of the prototype. I've had teams ask for an extra week to prepare so they'd be ready. No, you don't get an extra week, day or hour. I guess you could call this the ready-or-not-here-I-come prototype.
Mr Schrage describes the benefits of this approach — "Designers who are held to periodic prototyping are likely to become more prototype driven than spec driven."
Where else do we see periodic prototypes used? In Scrum software development, teams periodically demo the software they created. Sprint for two weeks. Demo the software. Sprint for two weeks. Demo the software.
The sprint demo creates a shared space where customers and developers collaborate. What's more, it shows if the project is on track and exposes risks. I sat in on one sprint demo where the software kept freezing up. One of the devs had to reboot the server to unlock the software.
Can you guess what happened to this project?