PoC vs Prototype vs MVP. Which strategy to prefer?
In the world of developers, you have probably heard these three terms many times. PoC or Proof of concept, Prototype, and Minimum Viable Product. These are strategies that will help you create a new project, but each of them covers a different stage of the plan. Let’s look at them, and explain the main purpose, so you can decide which one to choose for your company. You can use each strategy separately or together, depending on the needs of the project.
PoC or Proof of Concept
Strategy goal: Is the product feasible?
Proof of Concept is usually a short-term project aimed at proving the validity of applying a given business idea in a specific company. The PoC must prove the feasibility of the idea and the possibility of achieving the assumed business results. It is used before the actual product development and before the product is brought to market.
When developing a POC, a small project should be implemented to test specific business concepts and technical capabilities.
Developing a POC is the fastest and most accurate way to test or invalidate assumptions about target users and application concepts. If you are not sure your innovative policy can work, POC will help you find out if it can be technically implemented. Without POC, product development will remain a mystery.
Strategy goal: How will the product function on the market?
A prototype is a sample, preliminary visualization, or product released to test the concept. The prototype strategy is usually used to detect errors in the system. While creating a prototype, developers test product design, usability, and functionality. Prototypes help create the appearance and logic of the application. It helps test how customers use and react to a given project.
Prototyping is not only a vision of the product but also a trial version. If you have sufficient resources, you can create a UI design with a prototyping strategy. Then you can use it for the rest of the project development. Using a prototype for usability testing gives you enough time to make changes to critical issues before the product is released to the market.
MVP or Minimum Viable Product
Strategy goal: What are the basic functions of the product and what are the main values?
Minimum Viable Product is a product in early development, with a minimum set of kits that is sufficient to launch it on the market for customers seeking an initial evaluation. The whole concept is based on testing your business ideas against real, hard numbers generated by real customers, rather than on hypothetical values. It is about testing the product under market conditions and gathering opinions about it as quickly as possible.
Greta example of MVP is Twitter. The originators created key features for the idea and tested them on a limited group of users. In 2006, the Odeo company created a prototype of a social network that allows employees to send messages called “Twitts” of max. 160 characters long. After successful tests, the website was released to the market in the same year. Known as a social networking site for microblogging, with time it turns out to be primarily a platform enabling fast and concise information exchange.
Which strategy to choose?
The choice of strategy depends on what you want to create and what needs to be verified before starting work on the project. Brand new, innovative designs should go all the way from Poc to Prototype to MVP. This step-by-step approach allows you to thoroughly check your product idea before allocating significant resources to a full-fledged development process.
Simpler, less complex ideas can be realized by going straight to building an MVP and further refining and expanding the product. Remember, however, that the use of such a strategy involves some risk. If you want to minimalize the risk, build an interactive prototype product before developing an MVP. Then send it to Demand Assessment and Customer Evaluation to make an informed decision about the next steps.
As you can see, the POC, prototyping and MVP strategies can be used separately or together. They have different purposes and are applied at different stages of development. It is up to you, which strategy chooses for your innovative idea.