17 May 2012

What's the ultimate agile BA technique? Paper Prototypes

 According to the meetup group we played with the other day it is paper prototypes.  
(You can see the whole list of techniques we discussed here, and the game we used to create the list here.)
Idea for darkpatterns.org homepage
Ideas for DarkPatterns.org homepage

What we the criteria that got it up as the champion technique on the night?
  • You can test business ideas with them
  • Paper prototypes can be built quickly and edited just as quickly
  • They can be disposed of equally quickly and with less fanfare than the deletion of an exquisitely crafted Balsamiq wireframe
  • Pictures tell a thousand words
  • Screen sketches capture key business data
  • Screen and flow sketches capture important process and interaction flows
  • The combination of the above help you discover edge cases
  • A paper sketch doesn't get you caught up on details of design or UX
Here are some handy resources on Paper Prototyping
  • Wikipedia page
  • A case study on designing a University web application
  • An online book - Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces
  • A handy Youtube clip showing someone do it particularly well (embedded below)


  1. I'm so glad you were generous enough to share the information on the event with us freely on the internet. I was delighted at what I read and I could use a thing or two with the advices gives. Thanks for posting this.

  2. Hi Craig,
    That's a great list of techniques.

    I work in a large organization where analysts' responsibilities are very specialized. I focus heavily on back-end data analysis and modeling. So I'm always interested in hearing about analysis techniques from other domains, like front-end UI modeling. I like how you broke out the front-end techniques into really specific categories: low fidelity mocks, low-fidelity digital mocks, high-fidelity mocks. Those are somewhat subtle distinction, but certainly important for the practicing analyst.

    My other reaction was that some of the techniques on the list I hadn't even considered as "techniques" (e.g. Reflective Listening, Communication Techniques). These may not result in a deliverable (like a mockup or a model), but are important techniques that are critical to doing effective analysis work.

    Nice post.


  3. Thanks for commenting guys. The big thing for me was the learning through gaming. I'd encourage you to take a look at the game mechanics and apply this where you work.