Having the most profitable idea is not sufficient in the current fierce competitive market unless you have a product-market fit. The product-market fit is when your product ticks all three boxes: a business model that can make money, a product that solves the real problem properly, and woos the right market where audiences want this problem solved.
However, it is not easy without the POC, Prototype, or MVP approach to conquering the mission of launching a product-market fit. You need to follow the Prototype vs. Proof of Concept vs. MVP approach, speaking of which;
A proof of concept to test the practicality and feasibility of your idea;
Product prototype to validate its desirability and collect funding from the target audience and stakeholders;
And an MVP-version of the product with must-have features that can make money and receive feedback from early adopters.
If everything goes well, then you can proceed with your final app development. But what if you don’t follow the approach?
Suppose your idea is feasible and there’s a good market demand for it as well. So, you just omit the proof of concept, thinking you don’t need it. And you move to the mobile development process without prototyping and release your full-fledged product rather than an MVP. Now, when you look at the analytics metrics, you’ll see a high bounce rate and low returning visitorsㅡwhich indicates that your product is not a product-market fit.
You may ask what is the difference between Proof of Concept (POC) vs. Prototype vs. MVP is. So, buckle up! We’re here to explain the difference between POC and Prototype and MVP, what you should choose, and why. First, let us clear each approach’s root theory.
#1. What Is A POC (Proof of Concept)?
Proof of Concept, also known as Proof of Principal, is a theoretical demonstration of an idea, product, or feature to test its feasibility. It is usually prepared before prototyping to prove if the concept is viable to turn into reality. The document may address how the proposed product will help the organization achieve its goals, objectives, or business requirements.
When the concept pre-exists in the market, you don’t need to create POC. For innovative startups, however, it is imperative as investors are more likely to invest in proven business models.
The Purpose Of A Proof Of Concept Approach:
To validate the practicality of an idea,
To test the technology for the concept,
To persuade stakeholders to invest in the idea,
To envision the impending risks from early on.
POC Approach Example:
To demonstrate the innovative idea of Application-only Authentication API, in 2009, Twitter first released the OAuth’s rough version as a closed beta in Google’s discussion group. Currently, the POC code for OAuth has been used in nearly every application registration and authentication process.
#2. What Is A Prototype?
Creating a prototype is an essential part of the UI/UX Design Process for a visual and interactive representation of the concept. Prototyping’s primary motive is to ensure an engaging and pleasant user experience and an intuitive user interface. Wireframes are paper models of the product that work as the base of prototyping.
It helps designers understand how the user will interact and what visual elements should be included. You can create wireframes using Balsamiq, Sketch, or similar tools or by hand on paper. Further, designers convert the wireframes into a working prototype that runs like a real product without any code or database. The prototype comes in handy to receive feedback from real users and funding from potential investors.
The Purpose Of A Prototype Approach:
To visualize and test the functionality and design,
To modify the UI/UX until the desired result,
To determine the development flow and prevent rework and unnecessary costs,
To recognize downsides, fix them, and continue with the final development,
To attract seed funding from potential investors.
Small to big brands follow the Prototype-driven test to receive opinions from the existing user base or targeted audience. One such example is “twttr,” a prototype created and released by Twitter in March 2019. The motive was to experiment with Twitter’s look, feel, and operate.
“Initially, the prototype focuses on changes to replies, with the goal of making longer conversations easier to read.”― TechCrunch.
To collect the users’ feedback, they offer a link labeled “twttr feedback” that redirects users to a survey form. It asks for your Twitter handle and what you like and dislike and provides a blank space for comments.
#3. What Is An MVP?
Unlike the Proof of Concept and Prototype, a Minimum Viable Product, aka, MVP is the first working version of your app solution. It revolves around essential features only to satisfy early adopters addressing their needs and meeting specific market demands. You may ask, the prototype is also a working model then what’s the difference between MVP and Prototype.
Actually, the prototype doesn’t have to connect with a backend until approval, as it’s only a model without code. In contrast, the MVP is the initial working product itself that has to be connected with the backend. Nonetheless, you can say an MVP is a prototype powered by code. But don’t forget it’s not the final product but an attempt at a market test.
The Purpose Of A Minimum Viable Product Approach:
To market & test the product in less time and money than a full-fledged product,
To gather feedback from early adopters & end-users to map the final product development path,
To save the product from failure,
To draw investors’ attention with the help of positive feedback from end-users.
Amazon has set one of the most inspiring examples of how an MVP can gain you success. We know, Amazon.com started in 1994 when the internet was not omnipresent like today. Jeff Bezos’s idea was an online platform where users can buy anything, but he wasn’t sure if people would use it. So, it started small. The billionaire, first, listed the five most popular products and picked books since they were in high demand and affordable.
Users liked the idea of buying books on the Amazon website and receiving them by mail. After its first version’s success, the marketplace Amazon started to grow like a tree. Bezos began to improve the UI/UX and expand the product categories according to users’ feedback. Today, Amazon is among the world’s largest online retailers.
Now you know what a Proof of Concept, Prototype, and MVP are and their contribution to software development. Before you confuse between proof of concept vs. prototype or minimum viable product vs. prototype, let us differentiate each term quickly.
Difference Between Proof Of Concept, Prototype, And MVP
|What is it?||A substantiate proof obtained from testing technology/design that demonstrates the concept’s feasibility.||A clickable preliminary model that looks and feels like a real product.||The first version of the product with must-have features to meet a user’s needs.|
|What is it for?||To validate technical feasibility.||To validate UI/UX and a whole design flow with elements of the interface.||To validate the market demands & ensure if users need and will use the product.|
|How much time does it take to build?||A few days||A couple of weeks to a month||One to 6 months|
|How is it tested?||Within the company||Stakeholders, limited end users, developer groups||Stakeholders, End-users|
|When to create it?||When you innovate something that’s not available in the market and need to test the feasibility.||To visualize the UI/UX design and represent it to investors when the concept is feasible.||To ensure faster time to market, receive, and analyze initial target audience response.|
|Cost-effectiveness||It needs the least budget and helps in collecting finance.||It requires less budget to create a prototype.||Building an MVP requires a well-defined budget.|
|Technical resources||It requires technical expertise to an extent.||It needs comparatively fewer technical resources as there’s no development.||It needs complete technical expertise as it’s just like a project development.|
|User interaction||It doesn’t include any user interaction.||It offers complete user interaction as if the real product.||It is a version of the real product that satisfies early adopters.|
|Results/Revenue||Not for Sale||Can generate further investment||Sell to early customers.|
Poc Vs. Prototype Vs. MVP: What To Choose?
Even after differentiation, you are still unsure where to start, consider the below hypothetical use cases.
When to use Proof of Concept (POC)?
When you want to see if the concept is worthwhile and make an informed decision before investing your time, efforts, and money into product development.
When you have an idea that has not been tested or developed before.
When you need to represent the idea’s technical feasibility to stakeholders.
When you want to encourage your development team with the possibility of the idea.
When to use a Prototype?
When you want to test and improve your product’s look, feel, and overall UI/UX design before the final development.
When you want to visualize how the app will function.
When you have limited resources, time, and money, and you need to show the product design and UX flow to stakeholders.
When to Use Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?
When you need to ensure faster time-to-market of the product at a low cost.
When you want to refine the final product depending on early adopters’ feedback and market perception.
When you want to discover if the potential end-users need and will use the product and respond.
When you ought to create a product for the people, by the people.
In our software development company, we encounter clients with various requirements and distinct ideas. However, when it comes to building something from scratch, we always ensure the concept is feasible. Next, we prototype the idea that helps our client to visualize the actual product look and feel. Once the client approves the prototype after necessary changes, and we turn it into an MVP.
Finally, we help them market MVP and work on the final product development as per the market response. This is how the POC, Prototype, and MVP strategies help our client overcome product development challenges. However, we have strived here to explain the difference between POC vs. MVP vs. Prototype and their contribution to validating a product. We hope now you have a clear understanding of these magical approaches that save significant development costs, time, and effort.