3 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing a Health-Tech Product Prototype

Jennifer Fraser | Caroline Zenss | December 18, 2020 | 3 Min Read

Avoid these common mistakes so that your health-tech product team can develop prototypes that will secure investment, validate a concept, prove technical feasibility, or whatever your objective may be.

Prototyping is a great way for teams that are either redesigning a product or building new products to de-risk the product design and development process and collect valuable initial feedback before launch.

But in our experience, product teams don’t always approach prototype development in the way that’s best for them to achieve their business goals.

These are the most common mistakes we see healthcare technology product teams make when developing prototypes.

1. Diving Into Prototyping Without Proper Research

Yes, the prototype is a means of validation for user requirements, feasibility or value proposition, but it doesn’t mean you skip the steps of uncovering user and business requirements to inform the prototype.

First and foremost, your team needs to understand the bigger product picture. Conducting some user research or doing some ecosystem mapping will help you understand your product ecosystem. This includes understanding the context, stakeholders, potential barriers to adoption and other products/services that may impact how you position your prototype and what you include in it.

2. Avoiding Sunken Costs at All Costs

Many teams start out with the expectation or assumption that their prototype is the product, which can get them into trouble because they’ve already assumed there’s value there. They’ve spent time and money developing it, and sometimes they’re not willing to throw it out if research raises some important flags or suggests changes should be made.

Teams also assume that if they were to throw out the work that’s already been done, then it would take the same amount of time and cost the same amount of money to start over and get them to the point they’re at today.

This may be true, but there’s also a good chance it’s not.

Depending on the type of prototype that is best to help you meet your business goals, your prototype may not require working code in order to demonstrate the value required. Or it may not need to prioritize visual beauty or require the full set of features you initially thought.

This means starting over may actually take less time and cost less money than you think.

And if it is more expensive and time-consuming to throw out and restart, think about this:

Do you really want to develop a product from a prototype that your research has shown has major flaws or defects?

That sounds like a bigger, more expensive fix in the long run.

3. Assuming Prototyping is Expensive, Takes Forever and Requires Code

These assumptions left unvalidated are often what lead to mistake number three.

Again, time and cost to develop depend on what your prototype requires in order to be optimized for your business goals.

The research component to uncover what should be included in your prototype can be done pretty quickly relative to the entire development cycle. This research will also tell you whether code is necessary or not.

And if collaborating with a partner to develop your prototype, they may also be able to leverage tools and/or platforms, like Macadamian HealthConnect, to accelerate the development of functioning prototypes while reducing upfront costs.

Do Your Research, Validate Your Assumptions

The worst thing you can do when approaching prototyping is to make assumptions about costs and requirements without actually doing the proper research to validate them.

A great place to start your prototype research process is to read our content on optimizing your product prototype for your business goals. If you feel like you could use a little more guidance in uncovering user and/or business needs and requirements for your prototype, we’re just a message away.

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