The three most confusing words for any entrepreneur are MVP, POC, and ProtoType. In this article, we are going to demystify and explain all of them in simple words. We would also discuss the complete software development process and explain these terms from a timeline perspective.
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Imagine you just got a million-dollar idea, should you directly jump to coding? The answer is NO. It is very important to follow a set of predefined steps in order to build a product and make it successful. Today, we will analyze MVP vs POC vs Prototype differences in detail.
There are multiple sets of steps defined by many organizations, but the most famous one is to first build a POC (Proof of Concept) than a prototype and finally an MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
All these terms look very similar to each other, but they are quite different, and people always get confused between them.
In this article, we are going to explore each of the steps required to build a final product, understand differences between each of them, and decide on which one to apply at which stage of product development.
POC stands for Proof of Concept. When you start building a product, it is very important to find whether your idea is well accepted by thousands of people and whether they would be willing to purchase it.
If the idea is pretty awesome but is not able to create a buzz among the customers, the idea might not be the right fit for the market.
As per the dictionary, a Prototype is the first version of a product from which other versions evolve.
Prototype in terms of application development is basically the content screen that can describe your idea to the world.
Those screens might not be functional, but they would allow you to collect feedback from interested users.
You can create a buzz among investors by demoing your prototype to them. It is said that an idea is worth millions if the idea is represented well.
MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It is the first version that you would release in the market.
It solves the core problem and demonstrates the need to adopt it among the users. MVP is nothing but a working prototype.
|Purpose||To check if the idea resonates well among the users||To collect initial feedback based on the screens and see if the user understands the screen||To release an application with minimal and core functionality|
|Features||The ideas are transmitted to a bunch of people||No features are built in this stage||The minimal core functionality is bundled in the application|
|Tools||Market research, google sheets, social network||XD team typically builds the Prototype screens using screens.||Application is built using the technologies selected in the POC stage|
|Testing||The idea needs to be tested in the target market||The idea is tested in the target market, but screen feedback is collected||All the customers who download the application|
|Feedback on||Concept and Idea||UI Screens||Functionality|
|Customer value||Understand the core idea||Feedback collections||Real interaction with core functionality|
|Results/revenue||You cannot sell the idea||You can contact investors||You get real revenue|
|Built when||To resonate the idea among the users||To get feedback on application usability||Limited time and budget|
If you are planning to use a new technology or a relatively new technology, it is recommended that you should do a proof of concept to validate if you can use the technology and it fulfills all the business needs.
Many startups come and ask us that their competitors are in the market and they do not need to do POC. But it is always recommended to complete POC since you might have similar features, but the technology used by you might be different.
However, if you are extremely sure that there would be no tech challenges and you have previously worked with them, you can skip the POC stage. But, even if one new technology is to be used in the tech stack, you should always do POC.
The prototype is an extremely useful stage. At this point, you start to see how the product will eventually shape up. You get newer ideas when you see the visual implementation of the application.
The prototype also allows you to gather feedback from prospective users. Any changes suggested by them can also be easily incorporated as you are still in the early phases of coding and designs.
Prototypes also are of great help to show it to investors during your pitching in various meetups and conferences. A prototype is much better to demonstrate as compared to the idea on a deck.
MVP is the best and cheapest way to go to market quickly. All the major startups like Ola and Uber started with very basic applications in which you can book a taxi, and over some time there were iterative releases where they introduced a slew of measures.
MVP allows you to follow the agile model. You start with small releases and then keep building features as and when you need them. MVP also allows us to derive user behavior directly based on the data collected on the application.
You can also gauge from the application usage if people are liking your application or not. Also, you can lure investors as your product is live in the market and you can show your adoption trends.
One fine day, you were browsing and suddenly a million-dollar idea hit you. What should be your next steps?
The first thing you should do is to validate that the idea resonates well with other people also. You can use different mediums like SMS, Facebook, Google to validate if the people are interested in the idea.
The next thing you should do is choose the right tech stack using which would eventually help you to meet all the business goals.
If you are familiar with the tech stack, you can skip building a POC for checking the tech stack. This is an important aspect of MVP vs POC vs Prototype that you should remember.
But if you are not comfortable with any of the technology, you should always build a small POC to check if the technology chosen can satisfy all the needs.
Once you have completed POC on all the important factors and determined the right tech stack, the next thing you should do is to build a prototype. You can hire an experienced XD team that can build the screens for you based on your requirements.
Once the XD screens are ready, you should start engaging with the stakeholders. You should connect with the developer team and determine the feasibility of the screens provided by XD. You should check with all the peers to determine if you are missing any basic workflow.
The next step involved should be to start interacting with the users and collect feedback from them. You should demonstrate the product and check if they can get your idea from the screens and if they can understand all the parts of it.
At the same time, you should start getting in touch with the investors and create a buzz among them to get the funding.
Once you have incorporated all the user comments and have validated all workflows, you should implement the backend code for the screens and release the product with core functionality built into it.
MVP helps you in reaching a larger audience and gauge the overall market response to the product. You can derive analytics on the amount of time a user spends on-screen and if any production bugs are present in the application.
You can also talk to investors as your product is already in the market and start getting seed funding for the product.
Your idea must resonate well with the audience. If you follow the steps to build the POC, then a prototype, and finally MVP, you would end up testing your concept and seeing how users are responding to it.
It also helps to choose the right tech stack, connect with people and investors, and reach a larger audience.
MVP allows you to release your application only with minimal core functionalities. This allows you to release the application at a faster pace.
Once the application is being used by a lot of users, you can iteratively release more versions with additional functionalities. This saves the cost of development also.
Once you are in the prototype stage, you start interacting with a lot of users and start getting feedback from them.
Once you release MVP, people will start to download and experience it. Within a period, you will start deriving insights from the usage of the application.
You can derive which users are typically downloading your application. You can also determine how much time each user is spending on the application also. This allows you to make strategic decisions for the users in upcoming releases.
You may build the screens as you think it might be correct, but those may not align with what users think of it.
Prototype stage allows you to collect feedback from users about the screens and they are able to understand all the functionality. And in this stage, you can easily incorporate those changes.
You can also get feedback directly from the application by providing a tab for feedback and bugs in the application.
Since you are getting feedback at an early stage, you can determine if the idea is resonating well with the other users as well.
If people feel your idea is not good, you might want to rethink it. This will save a lot of your time and costs on building applications.
POC is the first stage of the development wherein you try to figure out the target audience and see if the idea resonates well with the people.
You also check all the technology and do small experiments with them so that you are clear about their usage.
MVP, on the other hand, allows you to release your application with minimum core functionality. This allows you to build the application rapidly and at a low cost.
So, this will clear your doubt regarding MVP vs POC battle.
Both POC and Prototype are used interchangeably but they are completely different from each other. In the POC stage, you typically talk to people and collect feedback about the idea. On the other hand, you show the working screen during the prototype stage and collect feedback.
The developers collect feedback and implement the same during the prototype stage, whereas in the POC stage, you typically discuss ideas and then try to verify if the idea is resonating well with the people.
The development team builds both the MVP and the prototype. But for prototype, the code is scratchy and contains bugs, whereas the MVP product is well polished, simple, and free of bugs.
Prototypes are generally created to just collect feedback and most of the time they are just screen rendered on the application to make sure all the workflows are tested.
Most of the time you have to pass through all the stages while building an application. But there are instances when you can skip one of the steps.
Let’s look at a different scenario.
When you have not built any of the strategies or any application screens, you are in the ideal stage. You should follow the complete lifecycle to form the best application.
There are multiple advantages of using the lifecycle:
1. Rightful validation of Idea: In POC and Prototype you connect with a lot of users and get the feedback, so you get a clear idea if people are liking your ideas or not.
2. Less Investment Risk: When you develop an application and collect feedback at the initial stages, you always have an idea and you can always change strategy
3. Faster development: Since you will release minimal functionality applications, it can be developed at a faster pace.
Once you have entered this phase, the stages will be of less help because a lot of decisions are already taken. You can selectively choose which stage you are going to implement based on the factors we are going to discuss below:
When you are starting product development, it is important to follow these three steps. At times this step might sound confusing, but you must understand these three terms for application development.
Most of the startup fails because their idea does not connect well with users. So, you must do the POC stage to make sure your idea resonates well with the end-users.
In the Prototype stage, you build the screens and collect feedback about its usability. It is very important to keep users in the loop right from the beginning so that you come to know if they can understand your core concept properly.
MVP is the final stage where you deliver the code to the end-users. It helps you understand the usage of the application and if any bugs should be fixed.
So next time, you are building applications, make sure you follow these MVP vs POC vs Prototype comparison. It will be helpful to any Mobile App Development Company. Thank You.!
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