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Best Practises

PROOF OF CONCEPT AND PROTOTYPE ARE NOT MVP. WHEN DO YOU NEED THEM?
The software development industry is becoming more competitive as the world becomes more digitized. With the increasing saturation of the industry, it has become imperative for firms to invest in the development of quality digital products in order to thrive.
The process of building such excellent software products, however, is an extensive one that requires a great deal of innovation and quality control. To ensure that the products developed are of optimal quality, firms have put in place several measures. Such measures include proof of concept (POC), product prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP).
These three measures are different in that they perform varying roles and are appropriate for different situations. This article will explore each of these measures, what they mean, and when they should be used.
What is a Proof of Concept (POC)?
A proof of concept (POC) refers to an approach that enables businesses to validate the feasibility of new ideas. It is often used in mobile app development to demonstrate an idea and test its inherent assumptions to confirm if the idea can be executed from a technical perspective. For example, POCs are used by developers to quickly check if a software idea can be developed. If the POC shows that the software idea is unfeasible, it saves the business a lot of resources that would have otherwise been spent on futile development.
POC is an efficient and accurate way of testing core hypotheses and validating key assumptions regarding the software concept and its target users. It is important to note that a POC is not a simplified product version with only minimal features. Instead, a POC is a standalone project that evaluates core functionality. If a software product is complex, it is typical to have several POCs to test each functionality.
Why Develop a Proof of Concept?
Save time & resources: This is the primary reason to create a POC. POCs help minimize the resources and time your business spends on development before being sure about the technical viability of a software idea. Essentially, it saves your business from the costs of a trial-and-error approach.
Select compatible technology: Multiple technologies will work differently with a proposed software. It is, however, expensive and impractical to fully build the software on every technology to test compatibility. POCs solve this problem. You can build several POCs using different technologies to determine which is most suitable.​
Attract investors: If your business lacks sufficient funds to develop a software fully, building POCs can be a great way to demonstrate your idea to investors and secure funding. This way, you can gain access to resources to develop your software idea properly. Multiple technologies will work differently with a proposed software. It is, however, expensive and impractical to fully build the software on every technology to test compatibility. POCs solve this problem. You can build several POCs using different technologies to determine which is most suitable.
What is a Prototype?
A prototype typically marks the early stage of product design. Unlike a POC, a prototype is not developed to assess the technical viability of a software idea. Instead, a prototype is used to determine how the product would look. In essence, it focuses more on the product's design. Developing a product prototype typically involves efforts from designers, developers, and product owners to determine the ideal design of the product. In addition, prototyping helps test the UI/UX of the product and sheds light on problems users would potentially face when interacting with the product.
Why Develop a Prototype?
Receive product feedback: By developing a prototype, you can enable users to test your digital product and provide feedback that could be instrumental in improving the product. User testing is a critical stage to refine the product further and fix flaws in its design.
Attract investors: Prototypes are even a more suitable tool to get investors than POCs. With a prototype, you can demonstrate the preliminary design of your working product. Thus, prototypes grant you a better chance of convincing investors and getting the required funds.
Iterate designs: With interactive prototyping tools like Figma, designers can create several design iterations in a short time. This way, the team can select the most suitable designs and further develop these.
Improve the product: Prototyping is a critical tool for improving software products. While your software idea might be technically viable, it will likely fail in the market if users cannot interact well with it. By developing a prototype, you gain insights to simplify your product and give it a refined form.
What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
Minimum Viable Product is a bit trickier to define than the other two concepts. This is because MVP can take different forms depending on the product and organization. Nonetheless, an MVP is a basic version of your product that only contains core features and allows you to validate your hypothesis.
An MVP is typically developed to assess your product's potential demand and market fit. It usually contains certain minimum core features that make the product marketable. At YouDigital, our developers understand how essential MVPs are and are well-skilled to develop the MVPs necessary to improve your end products.
Why Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
Optimize resources: Developing an MVP can save your business a lot of financial resources and time. This is because an MVP doesn't require you to develop all the product's functionalities. Instead, only the core features are developed, thus reducing the development work. At the same time, an MVP allows you to build a clear map for product development based on data gathered from the developed functionalities.
User feedback: The primary goal of developing an MVP is to determine what early users think about your product. Since the MVP contains core features of the final product, you can gain more valuable insights that can help you improve your product.
Get investment: A POC and a prototype might help you attract investors to a degree. However, an MVP can help your business secure an even bigger investment. This is especially the case if your MVP generates traction and gets lots of positive feedback.
Conclusion
POCs, prototypes, and MVPs are great tools to leverage during your product development process as they ensure you turn out the highest quality product. However, it is important to understand how best to deploy these tools to get maximum value.

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