Eric wants to buy the software. He found a trusted software development company but he doesn’t actually know if the software will fit or it will work. He can’t really trust the company. Eric decides to ask the team to do a proof of concept (POC). Here’s how it works. The team will put your software, add some services to make it work and you will see over the next few weeks if it fits you. Eric won’t be able to install the software. Instead, he will get a confirmation that the software works.
POC is often confused with a minimum viable product (MVP). Let’s see how Eric deals with MVP to differentiate it from POC. Eric has an idea for his software. Once he contacted the software development team, it offered him to develop an MVP. Simply put, it is a product that has a few core features to test by potential users. The team will be able to get feedback for further development.
Why does Eric need a POC or an MVP? He can save a lot of money by not investing in an unsuccessful project. POC can prove that this software will actually work. MVP can verify that Eric’s software can interest end-users and is quite user-friendly and functional. In this logical chain, POC comes first, MVP comes next. Prototype lies between these two concepts. Let’s make clear how these notions differ by digging deeper.
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Proof of Concept
POC is usually used to approve minor assumptions and lasts for one to three months. When you have any doubts or have no experience with new technology, ask a software development partner to create a proof of concept. Below are the other cases when you will use it:
- to verify the correctness of the chosen workflow;
- to find out if there are any blockers to complete a task;
- to learn about possible outcomes and risks of the project;
- to learn the details or to get a prototype;
- to define the best-suited technologies to realize the project.
- Customer-oriented POC is created to see how potential customers would use the software. In this case, a small group of users tries one feature, for instance.
- A use case is used to verify that the software impacts end-users the way you expect it. In this case, customers can see how their idea would really work.
- A test is used to see how the software would work with the customer’s existing systems. In this case, customers can see how the software would fit in technically within the flow.
A prototype is an early model of software built to test the basis, concept, or process of end products. It is intended to help in evaluating design or improving modifications to the existing systems. A prototype is mainly used to create specifications for a real-working software. Take a closer look at prototyping benefits:
- It saves money as it can reduce unnecessary production costs.
- You get users’ feedback on a prototype and can optimize the project accordingly.
If you like the prototype, you can proceed to development. If you have any comments or suggestions, the prototype will be updated for further review. Prototyping is an iterative process that lasts until you are completely satisfied with the offered model. Traditionally, prototyping is made up of the following steps:
- Identifying the initial requirements of a customer.
- Developing the prototype according to the requirements.
- Reviewing the model and suggesting what should be enhanced.
- Revising according to the given feedback and proceeding to the actual development.
MVP is a good way to check if your software would bring business value and have the right market focus. By creating MVP, both developers and customers can check if the product will be profitable and feasible. The key components of MVP include the following things:
- Framing – developers and analysts evaluate the feasibility of the product. Typically, they consider these three aspects: business value, technology, and feasibility.
- Scoping is intended to define the scope, architecture, and roadmap as well as to prioritize the functions.
- Developing – developers create the minimum viable product so that all the stakeholders could give their feedback.
- Transferring is the final stage when it is decided to scale, pilot, or stop the project.
Difference between POC, prototype, and MVP
Although POC, prototype, and MVP are much similar, they aim at the different target audiences. The adopters of the POC and prototype are people engaged with their development. MVP, after development, goes public and is available for end-users, as well. Let’s see where each concept lies in the entire product development process.
Proof of concept is all about verifying possibilities. It has nothing to do with actual development. You just need to find the answer if it is possible to implement it.
The prototype aims at testing the product’s usability, design, and functionalities. Actually, it can be considered a set of multiple POCs intended to show that the product works properly.
MVP is a viable basis for further development that has some initial design, features, and functionalities. MVP allows getting feedback and defining if the product meets end-users’ needs.
POC or MVP: What do you need?
Finding out what you actually need, POC or MVP, may become a dilemma. However, you may use both but be aware of the following pitfalls:
- Creating POC takes from 1 to 3 months. This process makes the product development pipeline longer. However, you can discuss the terms with your software vendor if you want to get a POC done faster.
- Some customers ask their vendors to keep building a product on top of POC. The key risk here is that you don’t consider scalability.
- Building an MVP doesn’t mean you should compromise the quality of the engineering part. Make sure that you would be able to change scalability or some features in the future.
If you can’t make up your mind on POC or MVP, answer the following questions:
- How big your project idea is?
- What should you verify?
- Who are the end-users of your product?
- Do you need some feedback from end-users?
- Do you want to know if your product is profitable?
To sum it up, choose POC to craft the right strategy for development, choose MVP to check if your product is interesting to your target audience.
What DICEUS can offer
Clients who are hesitating can get professional consulting on POC or MVP development, value chain mapping, and application development, as well. We have experience in completing projects of different scope and complexity. Our expertise in various business domains and industries allows for offering our customers the best-suited solutions.
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