Software development is a complicated process, as it requires precise planning from the early stages of a project. Almost 70% of digital projects don’t succeed today, and most of them fail due to the lack of planning.
However, accurate planning is only a part of success. It’s also necessary to make sure that you hit your target users with a much-needed software solution. Knowing that your product will meet the users’ needs and make profits is particularly important, since only 10% of startups manage to survive by reading the market demand properly.
Proof of concept (POC), prototype, and minimum viable product (MVP) can help you plan and test your business idea. However, what’s the difference between these concepts? When do you need a prototype, and when will a proof of concept do? At the same time, everybody is talking about a successful MVP they built, is MVP not the same as a prototype? How to choose? What do you really need?
In this article, JapApp will explain the difference between POC, prototype, and MVP. We have successfully completed 200+ projects, and we can tell from our experience what to choose when you’re starting your product development.
What is a proof of concept?
Proof of concept is the evidence you get after launching a short pilot project whether your product idea is feasible. At this point, you don’t intend to develop a product that will earn money, you just check if the development of your solution is possible at all.
Let’s see the proof of concept example. Imagine that you intend to develop a product that uses web cameras to recognize protection masks on people’s faces. You don’t know whether such a project is technically possible and how much resources you will need. That is why you start a POC project focused on development of the main feature only to test how realistic the product idea is. If the application successfully recognizes masks on people’s faces, congratulations, you got a proof of concept for your future product.
Proof of concept is necessary when you’re not sure whether your idea is technically and financially possible. Building a POC helps you to attract investors by showing that your business idea is worth backing.
In addition, proof of concept gives software developers a better picture of what they need to do. When your tech team understands what user pains the product aims to relieve, it’s easier to direct the development process towards relevant goals. As a result, your proof of concept creates a solid ground for building a prototype and minimum viable product.
What is a prototype?
Prototype is a sample version of the product that shows how the solution works. Prototypes are usually built to visualize a product’s design, architecture, user experience/interface, navigation, and such. While POC shows that implementation of your idea is achievable, a prototype demonstrates how it works.
However, you don’t need to confuse a prototype with a minimum viable product. A prototype is a rough version of the product you get after one of your iterations (short timeframes, within which you develop new features), so you may have several prototypes.
By contrast, MVP is a ready-to-market version of a software, which contains basic, yet fully working features. Also, a minimum viable product can be used by your customers, who can give you feedback on what needs to be improved.
You need to build a prototype when you’re not sure whether the product’s certain feature will work properly, or a chosen user experience/interface design is convenient enough. You’ll never know until you try, so resolving any doubts about product usability is one of the main benefits of a prototype.
For example, building a prototype helped our client to test the user interaction concept for software solution for monitoring electric vehicle charging stations. JatApp worked on the middle-fidelity prototype, which showed that the chosen interaction concept works for the solution best. As a result, we were able to start the development process for the final product.
What is MVP?
A minimum viable product is a plain version of your product, which your target customers will test. MVP usually includes only core features that are enough for entering the market and gathering user feedback. The main benefit of MVP is an ability to see whether the product kills user pains or not.
Building MVP is necessary when you need to test whether your business idea will make profits and create value to users. That’s why getting the proof of concept and product prototyping are often the stages of development that go before an MVP.
When JatApp works on any MVP, for example, we pay much attention to the development of the software’s core features. Basic features that work well can be used for a precise testing of the whole product idea. In the same way, bug-free MVP creates a good basis for the development of advanced features that will make the solution more marketable.
For instance, we worked on a cross-platform VPN solution and started with the development of an MVP. The MVP demonstrated good usability and value to the target audience, so we offered our client to focus the project on the development of more complex features. Eventually, the solution became a credible foundation of the client’s business, and the product attracted over one million users all over the world.
As MVP often involves proof of concept stage and prototyping, you can consider MVP as the final measure of your product’s potential for success. For that reason, you need to know what things to consider for the development of a good MVP. Read our article about how to define MVP if you want to learn more.
Work with JatApp to build your POC, prototype, or MVP
You won’t argue that starting your project without POC, prototype, or MVP can’t be really successful. Proof of concept, prototype, and minimum viable product are necessary to define and test your solution before you spend extra time and development costs.
Still, to work on your POC, prototype, or MVP you need todeeply analyze the market demand and have a team of skilled tech professionals who can develop your software solution.
JatApp has 7 years of experience in software development, so working on POC, prototype, or MVP is what we love and can do well. By cooperating with JatApp, you’ll have access to the largest pool of tech talents in the Eastern Europe, so we can assemble a team according to your needs.