Done correctly, rapid prototyping is no picnic. It’s a huge amount of work in a very short time. It takes a lot of energy, team members often feel overloaded, and relationships can suffer.
- Indirect communication.
- Sloppy messages.
- Insensitivity to people’s feelings.
- Negative attitudes.
- Reduced sense of humor.
- Lack of caring attitude.
- Breakdown of social manners.
- Lack of pride in team output.
- Lack of follow-through.
- Reduced sense of belonging.
- Reduced problem-solving.
- Festering stress issues.
Some team members obsess over details. It’s their job to point out whatever is wrong or marginal. This often makes others feel like they’re under attack – someone is always bringing up problems – and they begin to feel unappreciated. Nothing they do is ever good enough, while the obsessive members never seem to let up. Pressure mounts – stress takes hold – and blowups (large or small) are not uncommon.
It’s important for the entire team to occasionally step back (even though everyone is rushed), and review the main objectives of the project. Think in terms of singular, rather than plural objectives. Sometimes it becomes necessary to loosen tolerances a bit in order to meet deadlines and to stay in budget.
Some people are natural-born compromisers. Others are not. But, especially when time is short, it may become necessary to allow some shortcuts, and to relax some of the standards. Not always. But sometimes. As required. If you go this route, provide good reasons why you are doing this.
Keep in mind that you’re building a prototype, not a finished website. At this point, the project is not fine art. It’s temporary, preliminary, and maybe even disposable. The prototype is a demo. It’s not going to be the final product.
Rapid prototyping is not as risky as brain surgery or designing a bridge. It’s OK to make some mistakes. A lack of perfection is not going to kill anyone.
When the client shows signs of stress, and when the team members are fighting among themselves, remember that it’s OK to relax just a bit. There’s no need for sedatives or boxing matches if you work hard and keep the objectives in mind.