Alright, let’s imagine you have a great idea of a super cool product. And you are up to find developers and start building this product. You can come to some on-demand software development company and ask it to create a product. But where you should start building your project? Should it be a proof of concept or prototype or maybe an MVP? To figure out what exactly you need, let’s start with definitions and then do a proof of concept vs prototype review.
So, the definition of proof of concept (PoC) can be like this: Proof of concept is an outcome of research that checks whether a product idea is feasible at all. Whereas, the definition of prototyping is about an outcome of visualizing a product idea to check whether you cover all use cases. Of course, the definition of the prototype in software development can be different, so it would be better to focus on your goals to make sure you can choose the right option to validate your product idea.
When do you need proof of concept?
There are three main cases when you might need PoC.
Check on pains If you want to understand whether your potential clients have the pain you assumed they might have. Here we usually conduct user researches to validate and prove your product hypothesis.
Check impact This PoC helps you understand the impact your future product might have on clients’ life and the market as well. In this case, we do market and competitors analysis to ensure that we can evaluate impact.
Check feasibility Sometimes our clients come to us with an extremely sophisticated product idea and—to be sure that we technically can make it a reality—we usually do PoC. When working on PoC, our key question is the following one, ‘Can that product be created?’ To answer that question, we keep our success criteria in mind. These are the validation of problem hypotheses and the outcome of technical research with estimation.
To sum it up, take a look at the advantages of PoC:
● Giving proof of technical feasibility ● Answering the question, ‘Can we build it?’ ● Acting as a theoretical demo of products ● Saving you time and money ● Convincing stakeholders to invest in your idea ● Pointing out potential risks
When do you need a prototype?
Usually, our clients need a prototype if they have already done their homework on idea validation and conducted market and competitive researches and analysis. Consequently, they have a clear business and product requirements and just need help to visualize their product concept to check whether all cases are covered and get rapid feedback from users. A prototype is about simulating interaction with future users and shedding light on features that might be not so clear for customers. Because of the big focus on visualization, the key question we ask during building a prototype is how to develop this product to make sure users can get the most out of it.
Advantages of the prototype in software development
Here are the advantages you will get from prototyping:
● Insights into what users value ahead of time ● Answering the question of how we can develop a product ● Drafting the flow of elements and ironing out the kinks ● Visualizing features and design (user flows and layouts)
Besides checking or covering use cases and getting rapid feedback, prototypes are also used to attract investors.
Which method is best?
Well, it depends on the goals you’re aiming to achieve. You can use this test to find a better way.
We have covered an MVP in our article. But it would be useful to learn more about the key characteristics of MVPs here.
● Going public ● Focusing on customers’ needs ● Focusing on a value ● PM will understand which features are fundamental (feature prioritization) ● Based on market demand ● Showcasing business potential
MVPs help you understand your users’ needs and get feedback from them. 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 idea to become a reality as soon as possible and in a cost-effective way, then you are in the right place.