Prototyping functional requirements with Product Owner Carol Nejedly
Capturing functional requirements, defining project workflows and leading software development projects with Justinmind Enterprise and Product Owner, Carol Nejedly
Product Owner and power-prototyper, Carol Nejedly, uses Justinmind to create clickable prototypes to engage with development teams. She has recently headed a software upgrade project in which she has been prototyping new web apps for internal use. In this case study, we will see how she used Justinmind Enterprise to define and present functional requirements and project workflows to the development team prior to production.
Conveying vision with Justinmind’s events
With jobs blending together more and more, the Product Owner has to take on an active role in the definition phase. It is the Product Owner’s responsibility to have a vision of what they need to build and then present their idea to the team.
With a background in Product Management, Carol has prototyped many walk-throughs of project specifications and initial designs with development. In this internal updates project, Carol needed to present her ideas to internal teams. She began by using Justinmind as a ‘drawing pad’, to jot down ideas, suggest workflows, and to start defining functional requirements.
She then started to smooth out the requirements for the web apps with Justinmind’s Events system. She used the drag and drop rich interactions, transitions, and effect and animations to map out the function and behavior of the web apps. The interactive nature of the events allowed her to present her vision to her team interactively, and in real time.
She then used Justinmind’s Scenarios feature to create a navigation workflow and show the development team how users would interact with the web apps. Finally, Carol exported the functional requirements to a specifications doc in Microsoft Word to give the developers further support and guidance.
Leading the pack with a comprehensive prototyping tool
Product owners need to be leaders. They need to be decisive and make decisions that affect the entire project, and different teams. This often involves taking a leap of faith, jumping into things that they might not be 100% sure of and making decisions without having all the information to hand. Luckily, there are tools available that make the leap a less risky.
In Carol’s case, she has found that Justinmind takes the effort out of the product definition process, realize ideas that she might not have thought possible, and allow her to focus her attention on her team.
For instance, when updating her clients’ software, Carol was easily able track her changes with Justinmind Enterprise’s requirements versioning and change control features. She was also able to go back to earlier prototypes, and jump to and from any of the changes made. This saved her time as she didn’t have to recreate elements already made. Additionally, she was able to recreate components, styles and prototypes with templates which also avoided rework and gave Carol more time to collaborate with her teams.
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Prototype simulation: the project management & developer go-between
Carol was very much the communication bridge between the product management and development teams. Prototyping allows Carol to present her ideas to teams and individuals at any stage of the definition process and have them make comments or changes prior to production. Sure, you could do this with demos, presenting paper sketches or usability studies – all of which have their rightful place in the definition process – but none can have the same impact as presenting a prototype.
Prototypes in simulation make the entire definition process more transparent. Justinmind allowed her to visualize the direction of the project – and gave the developers an idea of what they would go on to create in code. In just a single click, Carol was able to view and test her prototype on desktop and on mobile devices, make changes and see them in real-time. This helped her to review the prototype with the product management and development teams. They were then able to have productive discussions, elicit actionable feedback, and work out any possible design kinks ahead of time.
Effective communication with users
A common challenge for product owners is trying to engage with users and the client to gather feedback prior to release. Carol used Justinmind to create an input form to gather feedback from team members and managers. Additionally, she used the simulation feature to present her prototype live in boardrooms on big screens. This was a great way to share the team’s progress in larger scale and give everyone a real feel for the project.
Using real data for web applications
Databases and data are commonly used in web applications. This is common practice with banking web apps, for example. You can store information in the database and once connected to the web app, you can easily access that information. Imagine the web app had to be re-built every time you details were updated, e.g. your balance changed – nightmare. Additionally having these details stored in a database helps to keep the app secure and users’ data private.
Creating web apps, data-driven prototyping featured heavily in Carol’s software updates project. With Justinmind, Carol created data masters, populating her web app prototypes with raw data. In this way, she was able to reproduce an authentic model of the final web app to be developed which data that could actually be tested.
What’s next on the agenda for Carol?
- Using Microsoft TFS to gather requirements in some projects, Carol will now try out Justinmind’s new integration with TFS. This will make her requirements management process much easier and streamlined.
- She’s going to try out the CSS palette to further improve communication with the development team. With this, she will be able to copy the styles (default or custom) of UI elements, including width, height, font family, size and weight and color, to other design tools or programs.