The Distinction Between POC VS. MVP vs. Prototype

Mobile App Development

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Jargon as it might seem, ‘a prototype’, ‘a minimum viable product’ or ‘a proof-of-concept’ it is important to know how the target audience feels and expect from the product or service. Startups are inclined towards making a lot of small choices from designing feature, structuring budget, aligning development process, testing and maintenance to achieve the best product-market fit. A product hits success in case the market is good and can satisfy the market. There has to be a concept over which we need to obsess to get the product fit into that market.

Differentiation between Proof of Concept vs. Prototype vs. MVP:

  1. Proof of Concept: This is a feasible solution
  2. Prototype: This is how we will build it. This is how it will be used.
  3. MVP: This should be built. This ensures that product is feasible.
  4. Product Market Fit: Market validates value proposition and business model.

Let’s discuss in some more detail:

Market Validation

Most of the start-ups fail due to lack of need. To establish and sustain, a business must be able to align their products and services with the market requirement. As the demand vs. supply gap is fulfilled, the business hits success.

Market validation might at times, be a solution to a problem that people might have. It might act as a common thread that ties the whole business together from proof of concept (POC) to product-market fit (PMF) rather than a survey distributed to specific user segments.

It is not mandatory to have a minimum viable product (MVP) or a prototype to start market validation. As soon as you come up with an idea, communicate it. Discuss with people within the internal and external circle, design a plan, construct customer profile or target audience and define your market.

Proof of Concept (POC)

It answers a question like whether something can be done. This emphasizes the technical exercise done to find the operational feasibility of the product. It supports the idea of the product, curated by internal stakeholders before letting potential customers know about it.

It is important to determine that a successful POC will take the least amount of time and resources and should verify one part within the whole system. Multiple POC’s can exist to check various components within the system. The features and functions of the app, how it will perform, what will be its usability and how it will be scalable are not within the scope of proof of concept. It just lets a developer know whether an idea can be converted into a full-fledged project.

Prototype

It answers the question of how things can be done, how it will look and how it will be used. Therefore it is the successive step after proof of concept. It is the model of the system and should allow stakeholders to visualize the end-user experience. The model doesn't need to include the functionality. A prototype generally contains Wireframes/screens, Product specs, planned features and User flows. A good prototype allows for a better product that the user might have imagined. It involves people at all levels including founders, designers, and engineers to build the prototype. It helps founders to communicate their ideas across the team, raise funds and convince customers of the value of their idea. Wire-framing tools help ease the process of putting the software prototype together.

Investors and other internal stakeholders are liable to provide feedback on prototypes. And it is for you, as a business to see what your potential customers think of your prototype and get a stronger market validation though. A customer advisory board is always helpful in this case.

Minimal Viable Product (MVP)

AN MVP helps a business analyze the viability of a project. The proof of concept (POC) helps build a solution to the problem. The prototype demonstrates how to weave that solution and MVP fabricates that this solution can be built. An MVP essentially helps a business to learn that a particular solution can be worked out. Therefore, a minimum version of the product is built in this stage and is then shared with a maximum number of people. This also answers questions like – is it viable? Will people buy it? This can be done by building a user base of early adopters that are enthusiastic about your product or service (pro or alpha version) and eventually find it valuable to open up their wallets to make a purchase.

Fact-Finding

A business always needs to check for acceptance and validity of their solution, as most of the service seekers do not know what they want from service providers. As we know that the proof of concept (POC) helps cite a solution to the problem. Mobile app prototyping demonstrates how that solution will be built and the MVP actualizes that this solution can be built or not. If you’re able to prepare all this, a market validation can be done. This validates that you know you’re onto something. While acquiring your first paying customers can be considered as a small victory, the comfort zone still seems distant. Market validation does not confirm the success or failure of the product. Similarly, an MVP cannot be considered as a final product either. Creating small things, measuring their validity and learning from it is an ongoing process. Best application development companies work upon making iterations, going the agile way, working on user-feedback, will enhance the value of the product or service, increase the value proposition and increase viability. Dare to jump or wait for the perfect time? The journey to product-market fit begins beyond building an MVP. It essentially makes you imagine how the final product will look like when it is in the hands of the end-user.

Author
App Development Agency

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