Prototyping a Walking Skeleton

Mental Model Dōjō | | Lifecycle

Either it’s the artist in us or the perfectionist taking control, but many of us have a tendency to start creating quality body parts ahead of putting together a skeleton.

Remember, it would be a tragedy if we spend an inordinate amount of time building a perfect product part by part, and then nobody buys it. That’s waste, muda (無駄).

In Agile we build prototypes and MVPs (minimum viable products). And we build it to test customer reaction. If it works with the customer, great, we continue: i.e. persevere. If it hopelessly sees no customer demand whatsover, we pivot. And if we see mixed results, we tweak and try again. This is built-measure-learn in Lean Startup.

A walking skeleton is a functioning prototype. It’s good enough to demonstrate what your product does (or intends to do) for your customer.

If the walking skeleton works with the customer, great, add on meat! But if it doesn’t, what’s the damage? It’s only a skeleton, so just tweak or pivot and try again with a new one.

Prototyping a Walking Skeleton

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