Warfel, Prototyping Chapters 1 & 4

In Chapter 1 Warfel makes the case for–as the chapter title indicates–”The Value of Prototyping”–primarily in terms of project and client management. His argument is direct, declarative, practical, and concise. The chapter sections’ titles themselves outline his case:

  • Prototyping Is Generative
  • Prototyping—The Power of Show, Tell, and Experience
  • Prototyping Reduces Misinterpretation
  • Prototyping Saves Time, Effort, and Money
  • Prototyping Reduces Waste
  • Prototyping Provides Real-World Value

The argument of the only chapter section with a non-declarative title, “The Power  of Show, Tell, and Experience,” is that “Prototypes go beyond the power of show and tell–they let you experience the design” (p. 3).

Within the “Reduces Waste” section, Warfel makes a compelling (enumerated argument) not just in favor of prototyping, but points out a number of the shortcomings of the “traditional requirements-driven design and development process.” Having produced, in a professional setting, a number of long, collaborative–or semi-collaborative–documents (i.e. grant proposals and reports), a number of these criticisms  hit home.

In Chapter 4 Warfel offers “Eight Guiding Principles” for prototyping. Like the first one, this chapter is absolutely packed with concise, direct, compelling critiques, practical advice. Reading a book like this in an academic environment is a very interesting experience for me. In no other discipline (or DMDL class, for that matter,” have I come across descriptions/prescriptions for things like the “psychological technique known as priming” (p. 46) or “Principle 6: If You Can’t Make It, Fake It” (p. 51)


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