Chapter One: The Testbed Methodology
Prototype, pilot, testbed
Prior to the 1980s, developers had few tools to test or simulate an application in a user’s environment. In the early 1980s, prototyping was developed as a way to gain user acceptance or establish technical feasibility by constructing a partial system to demonstrate an intended system’s behavior. During the same period, designers used pilots to provide a trial run of an application and correct any problems before implementation or large scale use.
However, prototypes and pilots did not look beyond the application to the social and organizational challenges raised by a new technology or workflow change. While technically feasible, systems still failed because social and organizational issues became barriers to implementation. In previous projects and research, CTG found that looking at all the issues—technical, organizational, and managerial—mitigated many of the barriers to system implementation. As a result, CTG developed a comprehensive prototyping approach that examines not just technical factors, but larger organizational issues as well.
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