In today’s fast-changing world, where innovation is vital for success, every other startup founder continuously looks for intelligent and efficient ways to turn a million-dollar idea into a viable business solution. PoC (Proof of Concept), MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and Prototype lay the foundation and determine the success of a digital product. This is where either a POC, Prototype or MVC comes into the picture, as these three approaches help you validate your product idea and ensure product-market fit before you spend significant funds on your development.
Let’s have a close look at the differences between PoC vs Prototype vs MVP and also explore what to choose when to create a successful digital product.
So, let’s get started!
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PoC, Prototype, and MVP are the foundational elements of the new product development. Proof of concept and Prototype are considered at the pre-product stage, which requires minimal to medium investment. Whereas MVP is a considerable product stage with core functionalities and features. Before we dig deeper into the differences between POC vs Prototype vs MVP, let’s outline the primary purposes:
Here’s what the timeline for your new product development process would look like:
A Proof of Concept (PoC) is the demonstration step obtained from a pilot project to determine whether the product idea, business plan, or project plan can be turned into reality or not.
The primary purpose of PoC is to seek market demand for the concept. It helps product owners identify the financial potential minimizing unnecessary risks. Usually, the proof of concept is designed and developed by team members to collect feedback and required insights.
For startups, a PoC helps to demonstrate financial viability and is crucial for developing new products in various sectors and industries such as manufacturing, IT, healthcare, and cybersecurity.
PoC is a small internal project carried out at the discovery stage of your product development project. The creation of PoC involves;
The PoC validates your idea’s practicality concerning the technical capabilities, resources, and tools. So, if your idea is technically feasible, you can move ahead with the next stage of product development. However, if your idea fails at this stage, PoC helps you save valuable resources, time, and funds in product development.
Here is the minimum set of features of a Proof of Concept (PoC):
Here are two successful PoC examples from giants like Twitter and Walmart:
Proof of concept (POC) helps to determine whether the idea is feasible or not because a creative idea has lots of uncertainty and requires validation. So, it’s essential to test it to leverage the PoC benefits.
You can also benefit from PoC when trying to create a low-cost solution similar to an existing one. Your competitors may have already invested more in their implementation. So, it’s always good to utilize a POC approach to assess the viability of your idea.
While proof of concept isn’t always a required part of the development process, it is highly recommended, particularly if technical issues must be resolved beforehand.
For product development, we recommend following these four steps:
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Once your idea gets positive feedback on the proof of concept, the next step is to go for a pre-production stage to demonstrate design elements and user flows.
A prototype is where the design of your product starts to take shape. Creating a prototype involves a collaborative effort among designers, developers, and product owners to align on the product’s design.
In product development, a prototype represents the initial version that showcases the flow and overall appearance of the product. Creating a prototype before moving on to the MVP stage is essential to understand complex algorithms and the process system demands.
The development of a prototype starts with a product owner defining objectives and system requirements to create a working solution with a preliminary design.
Prototypes could include paper-based (hand-drawn wireframes), digital (UI mockups or interactive versions), or miniature (IoT product samples). Prototypes serve multiple purposes, whether you’re showcasing design or delving into complex algorithms.
The minimum set of features of prototyping includes the following:
There are four types of prototype models, including the following:
Check out these exciting prototype examples:
Desired prototype benefits businesses in many ways. Here are the key reasons to use prototypes:
Critical considerations for successful prototyping include the following:
An MVP stands for a minimum viable product. It differs from a Proof of Concept (PoC) or Prototype as it is a functional product with minimal features designed to meet end users’ needs. The purpose of an MVP is to assess market and user acceptance, identify favored features, and determine what should be added in later stages of development. So, an MVP is an evolution from PoC and prototypes but not the product’s final version.
MVP is the fastest approach to offering a reliable solution to your target audience with basic features. It is an opportunity to identify the initial product’s strengths and weaknesses from the product’s initial users.
Here are the significant features of a successful MVP:
Here are successful Minimum Viable Product examples:
For more real-life examples of how MVP benefits, please refer to this informative piece of content on MVP Development for Startups.
Creating an MVP helps to reduce and eliminate the probability of failure. It evaluates the worth before investing valuable time and funds. So listed are the few benefits to help you understand the significant importance of MVP.
Here are the significant points to consider for a successful MVP:
There is a significant difference between Proof of Concept vs Prototype vs MVP, not in their purposes but also in approaches. Let’s have a look at each of their objectives.
|Goal||To prove the tech concept is feasible||To solve the problem for early customers and find product-market fit||To visulize the product and user flows and demonstrate the business concept|
|Form of implementation||Tech solution with a simplistic UI||The first version of your product||Visual clickable mobile/web prototype that requires no coding|
|When to Develop||The beginning of the pre-Product stage||The beginning of the product stage||At the very end of the product definition stage|
|Development Time||Days to Weeks||Months||Weeks|
|Audience||Internal domain experts||Investors and early adopters||Stakeholders and focus groups|
|Resource Involvement||It needs some tech expertise and requires coding, but the code quality isn’t the matter; minimal UI requirements.||Involves tech expertise, UX/UI, and coding but requires fewer resources than similar full-scale Products||Requires almost or no coding/tech expertise and relies mainly on UX/UI patterns|
|Use Case||Test technical aspects||Access user feedback and get funding||Pitch the product idea and find gaps in the flow|
|Risk Evaluation||Reduce technical risks||Reduce the risk of product development||Reduce user dissatisfaction risk|
|Investment||Small budget||Well-defined budget||Medium budget|
|Revenue||No revenue as it is not for sale||It creates investment and sells to early adopters||It helps generate further investment|
|Further Usage||Leads to Prototype or MVP development||Leads to full-fledged product development||Leads to MVP development|
You can use a Proof of Concept (PoC) when:
You can use a Prototype to:
You must use an MVP when you want to:
I hope your purpose of landing on this blog post to understand the differences between PoC vs Prototype vs MVP is served. As a leading software product development services provider for over two decades, we can help you develop PoC, Prototype, and MVP (whichever is ideal for your business). We provide technical consultation and guidance through each step of the product development process. Our highly skilled software product team ensures you build a successful product that meets your users’ requirements.
Connect with our experts to get valuable insights on the right product-market-fit guidance.
A proof of concept (POC) is a practical test to see if a product can be built using a specific technology. In contrast, a prototype is a working model with limited features. Prototyping involves creating a functional version, while a POC focuses on verifying feasibility.
A: MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and Prototype are often confused but differ significantly. Here’s a more straightforward explanation comparing MVP with Prototype:
A: Typically, during the initial stages of a project, a proof of concept is carried out to test the feasibility of an idea. It’s like a small internal project to see if the idea can work. If the PoC is successful, the team can proceed to build a prototype or an MVP.