Last Updated on February 5, 2021
Quick Summary: When it comes to developing a new product, you need to ensure that end-users actual problems are being placed with the right product-market fit solution. I am writing this blog post to help you learn through the difference between POC vs Prototype vs MVP to validate the assumptions with the minimum set of features for its initial users. In this blog post, we’ll go through each approach in detail, and at last, you’ll have a clear understanding of the best approach and which approach you should choose.
Table of Index
When existing businesses implement the new idea into the system, many organizations fail to adopt the correct strategy by not evaluating the idea and validating its feasibility. Developing new products requires satisfying the end-users by creating products that help them to solve their problems. We have witnessed these numbers of times, sometimes fortunes 500 organizations also fail to woo their customers when it comes to introducing a new product.
Have you wondered why? So let us pursue the matter without further ado. We’re going to discuss the concepts POC vs Prototype vs MVP, an ideal approach to kickoff startup. All these terms are applicable for organizations at the pre-seed, concept, and seed levels on the record- welcome on board!
The challenges every business face while choosing an MVP, POC, and Prototype in the early stage of the product development can sometimes lead to a wrong selection. By doing so, your organization may result in leaking the finances and overall business growth. MVP vs Prototype methods can be used together or independently, depending on the project roadmap.
An Overview of MVP, Prototype and POC
POC – Proof of Concept
Goal: To find out whether the idea is technically feasible
A Proof of Concept is a mini project used to verify technical concepts such as technology, method, and integration.
It is not mandatory to develop a POC if the concept is already available in the market. If your startup is innovating, the viability of the new concept’s practical implementation is an uncertain idea. It is used before you launch the product in the market and before product development.
Proof of Concept is not publicly available to every customer, which is not usable because it verifies if the idea is operationally workable. Depending on the initial study, poc app development allows you to assess if your product runs technically flawless or not. If it doesn’t work, it might be aborted or changed at the beginning.
What Do You Get With the POC Approach?
POC is a tool for validating a unique product. Have a sneak peek at the benefits of executing the POC approach:
- Attracts the initial investors. A POC works best to attract investments and investors who’re willing to fund proven ideas.
- Saves a good amount of time. In a short period, POC makes sure that you know if your project can be implemented and proceed to the next startup development level.
- Make the correct choice. To reduce major risks, you can create multiple POCs using different technologies.
- Staying ahead of the competition. A POC is an inexpensive way to develop a new and unique product that will revolutionize the business.
How Does a Proof of Concept Work?
If you’re unknown about idea feasibility, POC has two possibilities for you- yes or no. With a positive response, you can continue to build your project, whereas an adverse reaction won’t let you continue with a potentially non-viable project.
As a part of an internal approach, POC process flow is not meant to be shown to your users but to solve serious issues. But offering it to your potential investors can become your benefit in raising seed funding.
Success Story of Walmart POC
Blockchain technology is used to create cryptocurrencies. However, Walmart decided to execute this technology to improve its logistics system by tracing product origins. The Walmart team created a POC to understand whether blockchain technology is suitable for this idea.
In 2016, they created two mini products to test blockchain technology. One was used to track mangoes’ origin in the US, and another track meat sold by Walmart stores in China.
These two projects were created to speed up the process by determining the origin of successfully tested goods. Thanks to blockchain technology. They helped the company track product origins, see dates of dispatch, check logistics, and arrive at supermarkets within a few seconds.
Today, Walmart is successfully implementing blockchain technology by expanding the functionality of its blockchain-based system.
Goal: To demonstrate how the product will look
A prototype is an interactive mirror of your products’ eye that manifests the main design elements and determines the user flows. It focuses on determining the product look and understanding the fundamental project workflows that are to be included in the product development process.
What is a Mobile app prototype?
It shows how an app will flow from one screen to another and processes the app development. You can visualize the UX before you start developing your project. Many people get confused between the Prototype vs Proof of concept. The basic difference between POC and Prototype is that the former demonstrates whether a product or features can be developed or not whereas the later demonstrates how it will be developed.
What Do You Get With the Prototype Approach?
Have a look at the benefits of implementing a Prototype for your startup:
- Design concept validation. You can run multiple tests on a design until you get the desired output.
- Resource savings. It helps you to determine potential design flaws before product development, prevent rework, and reduce unnecessary expenses.
- Immediate feedback. While testing the prototype, you get direct feedback from live people that helps you to quickly identify downsides, fix them, and continue further development.
- Initial investment. A tested prototype with great looks can be shown to your investors, and you can convince them that your idea is worth investing in.
How does Prototyping Work?
How to build a product prototype? To create a simplified introductory design, the startup owner will define all system requirements. Then, the prototype will be developed & tested. Once you identify the errors and strong points, the developer evaluates the feedback.
Each prototype leads to the development of a new system. The entire development system is repeated until its final version meets the requirements and user specifications. This approach is the most widespread. Thus, the process flow is modified following the chosen prototyping type.
Here’s The Original iPhone Prototype From 1983
Do you know that Apple’s iPhone with a customer craze like anything was also started with the prototype? We know that the first iPhone was launched in 2007, but the company planned to make a phone long before. The image given here represents the prototype for a touchscreen Apple phone.
So, this prototype was designed around the year 1983. It featured a touchscreen and stylus input, and it was quite slick for a device from the early 80s. It looks like the company wanted to design a touchscreen and hybrid phone as early as 1983. And after testing and improvising that prototype, the first iPhone was launched in 2007 that is considered a revolutionary mobile phone.
Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
Goal: Launch and iterate based on user feedback
What do you mean by Minimum Viable Product? An MVP has a minimum required set of features to serve their customers and gain instant feedback for further improvement. An MVP is a functional app loaded with superior features that represent the application. It lets you know what your users like and what they wait to get later.
From a fundamental concept to existence, MVP is a primary system on its own that depicts your system’s basic version providing a small set of users and comments. It is a combination of microservices that mainly focus on creating one whole thing at a time. MVP is one of the most in-demand approaches for mapping product fit.
What Do You Get With the MVP Approach?
Here are the main benefits of an MVP:
- Expenses minimization and optimization. MVP is a device that demands less time and money for development and enables you to plan the development path.
- A tool to attract your first user. MVP is not a thoroughly refined product, but you can originate it on the market and get your first profitable client.
- A chance to draw investors’ attention. Nobody wants to spend on ideas with unpredictable market demand. A wholly developed MVP gaining accurate feedback from users is excellent proof for investors.
MVP Example – Twitter
In 2001, the podcasting business Odeo’s business model was under threat because of Apple’s launch of iTunes. So, to survive in the market, they came with an out of the box idea of running hackathons. And in hackathons, they focused on generating new ideas; from them, one idea was a cool SMS messaging service called ‘Twttr.’
In the beginning, the employees of Odeo used this idea internally. In less time, it became trendy among employees that they even started spending money for posting on the platform. And the MVP called ‘Twttr’ was scaled to one of the most loved social media platforms, “Twitter”!
POC vs Prototype vs MVP: What’s The Difference?
POC, MVP, and Prototype are different from each other, and so is the objective. From the below video and table, you can easily understand the difference between the proof of concept vs prototype vs MVP.
Key Considerations Before Developing an MVP, Prototype, or POC
Before choosing whether you need to develop a POC, MVP, or prototype, few inquiries need to be responded to and grasped. Once you classify the answers to these questions, you are all ready to pick from these three is undoubtedly the correct one.
- Is your idea unique?
- What do you want to verify?
- Is it required to find out if your target audience needs your product?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are your validation criteria?
- What does your business need?
- What are your measures for budget, time, and effort?
- What is your aspired output in terms of production willingness?
- Is your technology for the project discussed?
If answers to the above questions are YES, then you need to go the safe way and develop from proof of concept to prototype to MVP.
POC vs MVP vs Prototype: How to Choose The Best Approach?
When to choose a POC?
A POC is the first step while developing a fully-fledged product. You can implement this approach if the statements given below match your current goals:
- When creating a new product with an idea that has not been tried and tested before.
- You want to confirm your idea’s feasibility before investing your time, efforts, and resources into product development.
- Make sure to verify your product’s industrial utility to secure your first investment.
- Do not implement the previously applied technology in your industry.
- When you’re aiming to share your product and internal knowledge with the team members.
When to choose a prototype?
After creating a POC, you can move further to the prototype stage.
Some clues that reveal your need to begin developing a prototype:
- When you want to imagine the product’s feel and see how it will turn out in the long run.
- When you’ve limited time and money to showcase your product’s design and UX flow to attract investors.
- You aim to design a product having excellent user flow and user experience.
- When you have a minimum deadline for representing your idea to the investors.
When to choose a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
An MVP is not a mature product, but it is considered the last stage towards its development. In the below given, you can implement this approach:
- You want to invest minimum time and money in developing your product with the necessary features.
- You want immediate user feedback that can construct the base for further improvements.
- When you need higher retention at a low cost
From POC to Prototype to MVP: The One But Not the Same
In the given image, you can see POC, MVP, and Prototype approaches can be used solemnly and together. You can implement these approaches for various purposes at the stage of development. Thus, they are not interchangeable.
If you are trying to choose between POC vs Prototype vs MVP, consider developing a final product that passes through each step. Here are the benefits of implementing such approaches:
Test the concept: Before product development, you have the opportunity to test the idea and recognize your target audience.
Fast development: When you’re developing a product using this approach, you need a minimum set of features. Similarly, it would require more time to deliver a complete product. Thus, your product development will be faster when you develop from POC to Prototype to MVP, as there are fewer chances of going in the wrong direction.
Loyal Users: It allows the user to interact with your product at the prototyping stage; you already generate enthusiasm and brand awareness.
Quick feedback: You may have some expectations on how your product will look and perform, but your ideas may not connect to what the users have. The earlier you get user feedback, the quicker it will be possible to improve user demand.
Low investment risk: Investors are more likely to fund your idea if you ensure low investment risk.
Product development is like investigating with a vision in mind. The process starts with placing the foundation right to create a POC and a prototype, supported by an MVP. From all these approaches, the only MVP is a great example of functional product. But that doesn’t mean the other two methods don’t influence full-stack development.
I tried to erase the thin line between POC vs MVP vs Prototype for validating a product for a successful startup in the above explanation. Now, if you’re planning to develop a product using these approaches, hand your project to safe hands by searching for the best MVP development company. Make sure that it offers a dedicated MVP software development team and aims to nail down the viability and feasibility of your million dollar product idea into a successful startup.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between POC and MVP?
MVP vs POC difference is a comparison between a ready to launch application and an ideal validation concept. The aim for building both is similar, testing the idea, but the stages they are built are different.
Proof of concept if the first stage of idea validation where a small project is developed to check the feasibility of a concept on technical and business model grounds,
Minimum viable product (MVP) is a functional application with the minimum and prime features that best represent the application and get the user feedback.
What is the difference between a Proof of Concept and a Prototype?
Prototype vs POC is a comparison of two very alike but slightly different concepts. POC (Proof of concept) is a set of documents or basic software that is utilized to the feasibility of an idea. On the other hand, a prototype is a clickable and interactive version of an application that shows the product’s look and feel and demonstrates how the user would move inside an app.
What is the difference between MVP and Prototype?
The major difference between prototype and MVP is that the prototype is a workable version that is used for testing the idea within the internal stakeholders, whereas MVP is ready to launch functional version of the application.