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Difference Between SDLC and Prototyping

The process of designing and constructing a version of the desired system that is reduced in size but still functional is referred to as “prototyping.” This process is referred to by the term “prototyping.” A prototype is an early, rapidly constructed, fully functional version of the proposed information system. The term “prototype” refers to this version of the system. The prototyping process is responsible for producing this version. However, special prototyping tools have been developed to make the process more straightforward. According to Dixit (2007), it is possible to construct a prototype using any computer language or development tool. According to Rainer and Cegielski (2010), the prototyping methodology commences with the definition of an initial list of user requirements, which is then followed by the construction of a model of the system, and finally, the improvement of the system in a number of iterations based on the feedback received from users.

Two distinct methods of approaching the prototyping process are referred to by the terms “design prototyping” and “system prototyping,” respectively (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011). The finished product of the system prototyping process is a model of the information system that is fully functional in every respect. The validation of user requirements is the primary objective of the design prototyping process; once this objective has been met, the prototype is discarded, and the implementation process continues (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011). In this particular setting, the objectives of the prototyping process are more specific; however, this does not make them any less essential. A model that has been validated by users and that documents as well as compares the characteristics of the finished system is the end result of design prototyping (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011). The overwhelming majority of prototyping is accomplished with the aid of.

Pros and Cons of SDLC

Saves Costs and Time When compared to prototyping, working with a traditional software development life cycle (SDLC) is much more cost-effective for development teams because it allows them to check off all of the items on their list as they go. It eliminates the possibility of teams going through the testing stages again.Need Detailed Planning In the event that adequate planning is not performed for each stage of the development cycle, it is possible that this will result in increased costs and extended development cycles. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary for SDLC to engage in extensive planning.
Better Team Work SLDC makes certain that every member of the team is collaborating and coordinating their efforts with one another. Transparency and clearly defined employee roles are two factors that help reduce the likelihood of risks and delays in project completion.Long Testing Phase It may take longer for developers to meet deadlines if the code contains a large number of bugs or if customers request that developers move in a different direction.

Why Prototyping is Better Than the Traditional Software Development Life Cycle

When developers are prototyping, they do not attempt to obtain an entire set of user requirements for the software at the outset, nor do they plan to develop the system all at once. Instead, they focus on creating a working model of the system. According to Rainer and Cegielski (2010), analysts and designers should instead rapidly develop a more compact version of the system that is known as a prototype. Users provide feedback regarding how the prototype could be enhanced based on their experiences with the product. The users are then invited to participate in an evaluation and review of the prototype, after which the programmers will use the users’ suggestions to further develop the prototype. The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) begins with the development of programmes in accordance with the allotted time, and continues with the installation and use of the programmes. According to Stair and Reynolds (2011), during the software development life cycle (SDLC), the system should be maintained for the entirety of its operational life. This indicates that the application may be subject to replacement in the event that it requires changes that are beyond the scope of its maintenance.

During the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), the user does not use the solution until the system is nearly complete. This occurs during prototyping, as well as throughout each modification, specification, and optional system. During these stages, problems are identified and investigated, new systems are developed, and a portion of the application is put into operation. According to Stair and Reynolds (2011), those who use the system are obligated to put it into practise and either provide constructive criticism or identify areas that should be improved. According to Stair and Reynolds (2011), the first step in the process of developing this model of system begins with the creation of either a prelude model of the main application or a prototype edition of the full application. It’s possible that the subsystem will be built so that we can demonstrate models of reports and forms that are used to collect data. After receiving approval from the end users, the prototypes of the forms, user interface, and reports are then put into action as the actual systems. After that, the programmers can create the actual system by making use of development tools and languages such as VB.Net. The improvements are made until the whole system is fully functional and meets the requirements of the users.

In the process of prototyping, the analyst collaborates with users to establish the initial or fundamental requirements for the system, whereas in the software development life cycle (SDLC), Dixit (2007) states that the focus is placed on the goals and the timeline. This indicates that the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) places a greater emphasis on the system’s analysis and design rather than fully conceptualising user requirements. Because of the increased likelihood of not satisfying the requirements of the users, ongoing maintenance will be required. Dixit (2007) noted that errors established early during the development cycle can be twice as costly as establishing and fixing the errors during the analysis and design of the system. On the other hand, in prototyping a subsystem of the final system may be developed early on in investigation to help the analysts recognize what users want. The ultimate system is built as per the user’s specifications of the prototype.

When it comes to software development life cycle (SDLC), putting more emphasis on meeting deadlines rather than following best practises will result in unnecessary rework and maintenance effort, both of which are costly. According to Dixit (2007), maintenance costs account for between 40 and 70 percent of the total cost of developing a system. When prototyping, if a model that works is created, the developer will try to use already existing programme fragments or will use tools that allow working programmes to be generated rapidly. This is done so that the prototype can be tested as soon as possible (Dixit, 2007).When bugs are discovered in the later stages of the SDLC, the earlier stages need to have a comprehensive review. Additionally, the bugs that are discovered after the software has been installed may necessitate additional user training once a solution has been developed (Stair & Reynolds, 2011). Within the context of the SDLC, it is difficult for users to review intermediate products and assess whether or not a specific product, such as a data flow diagram, satisfies their company’s requirements. In addition, the creation of documentation for SDLC requires a significant investment of both money and time. Because users and developers have been working with a visible, albeit simple, system rather than some ideas on paper, the use of prototyping leads to improvements in the operational feasibility of systems during implementation. Additionally, the use of prototyping leads to a boost in confidence among users and developers.According to Shelly and Rosenblatt (2011), as the system takes shape, users develop a more favourable attitude toward the process as well as the outcomes.

When it comes to designing a software prototype, there are a few different steps involved. These are some of the key distinctions between SDLC and prototyping.

1. Identify Basic Requirements

At this point in the process, the development team needs to have a fundamental understanding of the product requirements in regard to the user interface. They will be responsible for handling all of the details pertaining to the internal design, while deferring to a later stage the management of the external aspects such as performance and security.

2. Develop the Prototype

During this stage, the Prototype model vs. SDLC is developed, and it demonstrates the primary user interface requirements. It is possible that the final version of the software will not implement these features in the same manner. When it comes to SDLC versus prototyping, teams have a few options at their disposal to achieve the same look and feel for the user as the actual software.

3. Review the Prototype

The customer and any other key stakeholders involved in the project are involved in the development of the prototype, which is then presented to them. Their comments are taken into consideration and catalogued for possible future use. At this point, the prototype is still in the process of being developed.

4. Improve the Prototype

At this stage, the comments and feedback obtained from the review are discussed, and negotiations are held with the client based on the time constraints, financial constraints, and technical constraints. Concerns have been raised regarding the practicability of the implementation, and as a result, adjustments have been made to the latest version of the prototype. An argument can be made for SDLC versus prototyping because the entire cycle will continue to repeat itself until the customer or user is completely satisfied with all of the features.

In comparison to SDLC, the prototype model uses either horizontal or vertical dimensions. The user interface for the product is demonstrated using the horizontal prototype, which gives a more comprehensive overview of the system. The internal workings of the software are not the primary focus of this article. On the other hand, the vertical prototype provides a comprehensive explanation of each individual procedure or subsystem that is present in the final product.

Both the horizontal and the vertical prototypes are designed to accomplish distinct goals. While the other one satisfies the needs of the business, the horizontal prototype is able to obtain more data from the user interface. It is demonstrated during the sales demos in order to entice potential investors and funding organisations. Vertical prototypes are more technical and can be used to obtain specific details regarding the system’s operation in order to test those details. Every feature is accounted for in terms of the database requirements, function interactions, and data processing loads involved.

Reasons for Using Prototyping

According to Agarwal, Tayal, and Gupta (2009), a prototype can be put to a number of different uses. One of the most important goals and objectives is to provide users with an illustration of the input data formats, as well as messages, reports, and interactive dialogues. This is extremely helpful in gaining a deeper comprehension of the requirements of the user. When it comes to developing the graphical user interface (GUI) component of the system, the prototype model is extremely helpful. When the development team does not fully understand the technical solutions, prototyping model may be utilised as an option. According to Agarwal, Tayal, and Gupta (2009), significant design choices are determined by factors such as the response time of a hardware controller or the effectiveness of a sorting algorithm. In these kinds of situations, developing a prototype might be the most effective or even the only way to solve the technical problems. Because it is impossible to get it right the first time, developing a prototype is the third reason for doing so. One must plan to dispose of the initial product in order to create a good one later, as is advocated, so it is important to have this plan in place (Agarwal, Tayal & Gupta, 2009).

Drawbacks of Prototyping

Iterations in prototyping build on top of the ones that came before them. It’s possible that the final solution is only marginally better than the one we came up with initially. According to Shelly and Rosenblatt (2011), a rapid pace of development can create quality problems that aren’t discovered until after the finished system has been put into operation. The second drawback is that other system requirements, such as reliability and maintainability, cannot be tested adequately using a prototype. As a consequence, this results in systems that do not capture all of the requirements that are necessary. The third drawback of prototyping is that it becomes unwieldy and difficult to manage when applied to systems that are very complex (Shelly & Rosenblatt, 2011). The final version of the system will typically demand higher-level performance than the prototype can provide. System analysts need to be aware of this fact. It’s possible that the prototype is missing necessary functions like security requirements, procedures for handling errors and exceptions, and others. When software is developed hastily with no software process in place, the result is frequently code that is poorly designed, poorly documented, and difficult to maintain. This is the fourth major drawback of prototyping, and it is one of the most important ones. The pressures of rapid development can result in a significant amount of time being wasted on re-implementing modules, when previous modules could have been reused on the assumption that they had been well-developed, designed, and documented in the first place.

Where Prototyping is not a Good Fit

In development environments with multiple users, multiple sources of expertise, or a large problem domain, prototyping is not a good fit because it cannot accommodate all of these factors at once. Mora, Forgionne, and Gupta (2003) argued that in situations where there are multiple sources of expertise, different heuristics may emerge to achieve similar goals. It is the responsibility of the knowledge engineer to bring these different heuristics into alignment for the purpose of system development. When there are multiple users, each of whom has unique characteristics and requirements, prototyping can be problematic because it makes it difficult to adapt a system to each person’s specific needs. The developers of the system might not have enough time, money, or ability to communicate with all of the potential users (Mora, Forgionne & Gupta, 2003). Because prototyping is an interactive process, the size of the project team must be kept as small as is practically possible. As a direct consequence of this, it is only suitable for use in modular applications where it excels.

In situations in which the problem domain is extremely broad, prototyping can result in a poorly structured and, more often than not, inaccurate knowledge base. When procedural cuing is used, this implies the need for a known desired structure, which requires the structure to be specified, at the very least in outline form, prior to the coding process. Under these circumstances, the use of prototyping as a methodology might not be the best choice; instead, the structured method ought to be implemented. Therefore, prototyping is a dangerous method of developing systems because it can lead to disastrous results if the users’ existing business knowledge is not utilised to its full potential. There is a risk that development will simply deteriorate into coding before the programmers and designers have a clear understanding of their responsibilities.

To summarise, the utilisation of prototyping helps to clarify the business needs, but it also has the potential to cloud the technical vision of the development team if the prototyping activities are not controlled within the required framework. It is imperative that developers document any and all alterations to the requirements as quickly as possible after the changes have been uncovered. Employees who have low status and self-esteem should be encouraged to learn and grow by being placed in an environment that is non-threatening and supportive due to the introduction of prototyping, which should be done in such a way that it provides such an environment. Prototyping shouldn’t eliminate or replace activities; rather, it should improve the quality of these activities, which is something that system analysts and designers should be careful to keep in mind.


Prototyping versus SDLC essay sample. Essay Sample. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://prime-essay.net/samples/Research/prototyping-versus-sdlc-essay.html

Insights, I. S. E. T. (2022, February 11). SDLC vs prototyping – the ultimate comparison. ISETech. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://isetech.co/sdlc-vs-prototyping/#:~:text=The%20main%20difference%20in%20SDLC,at%20least%20six%20fundamental%20phases.