Media Richness Theory adapted for agile hardware development

MRT.pngAgile development teams use prototypes for communication both within the team and with internal and external stakeholders (e.g. customers). The intention of agile development is to use the prototypes to collect feedback, to learn from it and to orient future development steps towards it.

The Media Richness theory for the agile development of physical products according to Schmidt et al (2017) explains which type of prototype should be chosen depending on the communication task (see picture). If the prototype contains too little information, the evaluator will probably not be able to provide reliable feedback. However, if the prototype contains too much information, the evaluator could be distracted or irritated by the relevant aspects or those to be tested. In this case, too, the evaluator feedback would hardly be valuable for the further development steps.

The type of prototype therefore seems to be a decisive control variable for generating reliable feedback. According to Schmidt et al (2017), it should therefore be decided on the basis of the complexity of the communication task whether a paper prototype, a simulation or rather a 3D-printed part as a form of result delivers the greatest added value through reliable evaluator feedback.

 A detailed explanation of the adapted media richness theory can be found here:
Schmidt, T. S.; Böhmer, A.; Wallisch, A.; Paetzold, K. and Lindemann, U. (2017), "Media Richness Theory in Agile Development: Choosing Appropriate Kinds of Prototypes to Obtain Reliable Feedback", 23th International ICE Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation (ICE'17), Madeira, Portugal, 27.-29. Juni