POC vs Prototype vs MVP

When do you need proof of concept? When do you need a prototype? When do you need an MVP?

Essential Terms and Their Explanation

Before implementing the idea, many people have a different idea of the intended result. The most common terms, in this case, are a MVP (minimum viable product), PoC (Proof of Concept), and Prototype. Let’s try to figure out when it’s most appropriate to use each of the above definitions to avoid misunderstandings.

What is MVP?

A minimum viable product is a version of a product that comes with a minimum set of features designed to meet a business goal while maintaining viability. In other words, your application doesn’t contain many exciting features and a beautiful ‘pixel-perfect’ interface. For that reason, the MVP development approach makes sense when working with start-ups to bring the product to market and find out whether it’ll be in demand.

Thus, if you’ve found your marketing fit and demand in the market, you can develop the full version of your application and attract the first investors for further work. But, of course, as the MVP gets released to the market, it must be a stable version that works smoothly.

Learn more about “What is the MVP Development Process? How to Build a Minimum Viable Product?

What is Proof of Concept?

A proof of concept is a small project created to test critical hypotheses before starting an entire development cycle. For example, a PoC helps test whether a feature can get implemented and if the team is unsure whether the idea will work. A PoC is all about developing a small part of a product that users may not see because, most often, PoCs are used in-house to refine the path of a project.

A PoC is a small piece of research that gives the green (or red) light to further work—starting a new project or continuing an existing one. There are also cases where a PoC is used instead of an MVP to get funding.

What is Prototype?

The primary goal of prototyping is to help make decisions about product development and reduce product errors. A prototype is a working model of several aspects of your product (whereas a PoC only implements a single feature). Most often, companies build prototypes to showcase some part of the system.

The team tests the product’s design, usability, and functionality using a prototype. Simply put, a prototype is more like a draft, which still needs much to be completed. Also, you can let users try your prototype to receive feedback. Keep in mind that prototypes are often used to implement fresh ideas and can become part of your MVP. Although MVPs, PoCs, and prototypes have a lot in common, they still pursue different goals. In the course of work, a PoC can grow into a prototype or a MVP. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which way to go.

POC vs. Prototype vs. MVP: How to Choose the Best Approach?

Alright, let’s imagine you have a great idea of a super cool product that’s going to disrupt the market, and you’re up to find developers and start building this product. You can contact some software development company and order your custom product. But where do you start? Should it be proof of concept, prototype, or maybe MVP? To figure that out, let’s start with definitions, and then we’ll do proof of concept vs prototype vs MVP review. This article aims to help you understand the difference, choose the right one, and see how Broscorp can implement everything you need.

Three considered strategies have different purposes. Here’s a clear illustration:

When do you need proof of concept?

There are three main cases when you might need PoC. Every tech start-up these days is based on a unique technical idea. It might look like it’s hard to find something that you can’t implement, but dozens of start-ups failed because they didn’t verify the feasibility first. 

So, the only one yet crucial reason to choose proof of concept is.

Check feasibility

There are reasons why technical feasibility isn’t evident at first glance. New, untested technology, language, hardware, and framework are only a few reasons for that. Building your PoC is all about being a pioneer. It’s like being Armstrong on the moon. You don’t have anyone to ask on the forum about a better way to do it. That’s why this task applies additional requirements on the skill set of developers implementing it.

What would you get out of a proof of concept? 

  • Proof that you can build your product using existing technical solutions.
  • You will get it cheap. So, you wouldn’t spend millions of dollars trying to build a product that could never fly. 
  • You can use the technical outcome at a later stage.
  • It can convince stakeholders to invest in the idea.

What won’t you get? 

  • Production-ready solution.
  • Product that’s ready to be sold to end customers.

How can Broscorp help?

Broscorp has highly skilled engineers who aren’t afraid of doing something new and crafting new approaches out of thin air. Let us know your idea, and we’ll check the feasibility in the shortest possible time.

When do you need a prototype?

The prototype is about simulating interaction with future users and shedding light on features that might be not so clear to customers. It means that a prototype is literally an interactable design of your product. It shouldn’t even have features implemented or functioning. Having a prototype already allows you to show it to the potential customers or early adopters, collect feedback, and iteratively improve your product. Because of the big focus on visualization, the main question we ask ourselves while building a prototype is what we can do to make sure users get the most out of this product.

What would you get out of a prototype? 

So, here are the advantages you’ll get from prototyping:

  • Insights of what users value ahead of time.
  • Answer a question on how we can build it.
  • Draft the flow of elements with fixed problems.
  • Visualized features and design (user flows and layouts).

What won’t you get out of prototyping? 

  • Ready-to-go-live solution.
  • Actual feature development.

How can Broscorp help? 

Broscorp has product designers and UX designers on the team, so we can collect initial requirements, create mockups or wireframes, collect user feedback, and adjust a product until you make a success of it.

When do you need an MVP?

‘MVP’ stands for a minimum viable product. It has enough features to help users solve their primary pain. It’s not a full-blown product, but it can become so in the future. That means that one should build an MVP with enough level of quality. But the main feature of MVPs is that you create them fast enough to validate hypotheses, collect initial feedback, overcome competitors, and wisely spend your money.

Simple comparison: 

  • To build an MVP in 2–3 months, validate an idea and then decide to move forward or discard the whole idea. 
  • To build a full-blown product for three years, spend gazillions of money, and then release something the market doesn’t require at all. 

It’s clear that you have a higher chance of success with the MVP approach. You can validate more ideas during the same period and increase your chances of success.

What would you get with an MVP?

  • Go-live product in less than 90 days.
  • First customers.
  • Initial feedback.
  • Technical basis for further development.

What wont you get with an MVP? 

  • Waiting for years to roll out the first version of your product.
  • Spending a lot of money to find out that your idea isn’t the best.

Final words

Although MVP, POC and Prototype have a lot in common, but they still have different goals. In the course of work, a POC can develop into a prototype or MVP. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which way to go.

Thus, as you can see, there are many steps a product idea should take before it becomes a full-fledged product. If you want your vision to become real as soon as possible and in a cost-effective way, then you are in the right place.

If you are looking for a way to make your idea or product profitable Broscorp will be happy to help you.

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