If you are more into software development, there are few chances of missing out on these three terms: Proof of Concept(POC), prototype, and Minimum Viable Product(MVP) strategies. The three methods are but ways of describing the version of an upcoming product. However, it is sometimes hard to establish clear-cut differences between them at various project completion stages. In this piece, we will explore clear-cut distinctions between the three strategies to help you figure out the right choice or preferably a combination for your project. Let us examine each of them.
Table of Contents
Proof of Concept (POC)
Proof of Concept is a strategy that establishes whether a given idea can be proven or otherwise. To be clear, POC serves as a viability test for all your main assumptions. It is the first step in materializing the study on project operation. A significant factor to note is that PoC does not cover the future product entirely. It focuses on a crucial element of the work. Complex ideas are usually tested by many PoCs which address every critical functionality. From the strategy itself, we can argue out that PoC tries to prove the correctness of a given significant assumption and that the hypothesis can be established in real life through several technologies. Here, we assume frills such as product features, usability, performance, and other customer-related elements. PoC leaves out all these elements.
Reason for Proof of Concept
The strategy will serve you in various productive ways. Most essentially, PoC is fast and easy, as it will help you find investors and stakeholders in a short period. It works perfectly well for startups who need to establish some funding driven towards expanded product development. PoC also serves entrepreneurs who aim to undertake innovative solutions. PoC helps them validate assumptions and ideas.
You will often encounter this term in software engineering. It can be described as a model of the actual product to be developed. The prototype focuses on various factors that the final look or appearance of the application, the process of creating the application, user interactions after the application has been developed. Prototyping ensures to stick to proper mockups, user flows, and wireframes. Prototypes are essential for stakeholders who yearn to have a more advanced version of the product they want rather than the superficial view supported by Proof of Concept.
Prototype development requires a team of experts to work collectively with the desired effort. The experts in prototype development include designers, engineers, and the stakeholders themselves. The product founder has to exercise proper communication with the experts to bring the best product idea. Lack of adequate communication or expression of the desired product can bring about the generation of an undesired prototype, which results in the development of an undesired outcome. In generating the product idea, its founder has to prioritize the essential prototype elements. All these ensure proper and comfortable reflection of the significant assumptions regarding the actual development of the product.
Coming up with a prototype helps advance ideas on the anticipated product. A prototype makes it easier to introduce changes and remove repetitive thoughts when it is more visual.
Forms of prototypes
Identifying the form of your prototype is crucial as it defines what you will showcase or test. Every state provides visual resemblance at various levels in comparison to the end product. These forms differ in multiple ways as some confine themselves to rudimentary functionalities while others focus on functionalities extensively. Several tools can use in creating prototypes. An excellent example of popular ones includes Invision and Figma.
Reason for building prototypes
Building a prototype is essential as it provides time for gathering feedback that helps to establish glitches, errors, and problems that may result before the onset of actual product development. Building a prototype also helps to advance future development by establishing designs and user flows. The use of prototypes provides an essential way of demonstrating how the users will view the final product and how they will understand the entire work’s basic features and functionality. Minimum Product Development comes in when interactive prototypes of high fidelity are used during a higher customer demand. It through this that we understand the need for understanding the market demand before venturing into product investments.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
The MVP strategy entails the release of products that only have significant functionalities. The product’s significant functionalities ensure that the product can function perfectly well and fit for use by the customers. Minimum Viable Products are often incorporated with minimum features. Therefore, it is essential to note that letting products with low-quality issues is likely to bring about critical problems such as consistent crashing. Always ensure that the minimum viable product is at a better state for use and supports bug fixes with no crushing cases.
Essentially, minimum viable products have reduced marketing timespan because they have not fully explored all the end product features. Therefore, such works are quickly released into the market at cheaper costs. A minimum viable product already in the market is just a perfect chance to establish or compare it with real-life demands. It is also essential to understand that testing the market demand through MVP can generate the risk of financial losses whenever no users are demanding the product.
Even though that might be the case, there are also greater possibilities for such products to increase user demand. Through that, you can begin generating some income through a viable product. Once your audience starts using your product, you can identify the pros and cons associated with the product. Once you have established and understood the feedback from users, you can rectify, upgrade, and add some features on the product basing on the user feedback. Adjustments in future product development rely on the feedback from your target users.
With a minimum viable product strategy, you can upscale the user base and weigh the product with the market fitness. Furthermore, you can enhance your work by establishing user behavior and preferences. Here, users have a more significant role to play in helping you advance the desired product.
Reasons for building a minimum viable product
While making a minimum viable product seems substantial, it is not always recommended. However, there are cases where MVP turns out to be a crucial tool in enhancing your business’s value. For instance, when you venture into offering your new users with something new, then you have to test it first with them, analyze their preferences, their dislikes, and how they would love the product to be enhanced. Doing so will help you identify an innovative path before starting the actual development.
Another instance where MVP can be vital is a case of a platform that has some new functionality. MVP helps you in such a case, and you wouldn’t end up developing some products that will end up malfunctioning.
However, developing a product can fail to pass through this strategy, especially when creating an already familiar product. Building a product already in the market requires that you check on other possible competitors, figure out their flows, identify user preferences, establish what users want to be adjusted, and much more. Doing so will help in the entire process of bringing out a product that users will love. In such a case, PoC would be outstanding.
With a minimum viable product, you can enjoy added benefits from the repetition of new features relying on previous results and the entire budget.
Having understood each of the strategies, let as explore which approach is best for you.
Even though all these strategies are critical for your product ideas, some have setbacks that will not work well for your needs. However, it all relies on the type of product you want to build and the assumptions you need to clarify before starting the entire process. Some products will require each strategy singly. Others will need the incorporation of two or three of them. Therefore, you need to understand your product’s requirements then identify the plan that best suits your work.
A perfect instance of products that will require PoC, MVP, and Prototype strategies are the innovative ones. It entails a stepwise approach to developing the entire product putting into concern proper funding.
Usually, MVP is always productive for more straightforward business ideas, such as booking. In a concept such as booking, the founder can start by implementing a minimum viable product and later refine and expand all the product features. Even though the approach is quite important, there are always many cases of failure, which means more significant losses are incurred than other strategies. Reducing the risk can be done by building an interactive product prototype before creating a minimal viable product. You can then send it out to target customers before establishing what you need to improve and what you need to drop.
Also check: cost of MVP
All these strategies are essential, and for every product idea, you need to develop. However, you need to properly analyze what your product is all about compare with the strategies. Based on one strategy’s advantages over the other, you can always establish the right approach. Generally, MVP is essential for a smaller business. The three altogether can be used in projects that demand complex requirements.
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