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Proof of Concept vs Minimum Viable Product

05 Feb 2020

#Product Design

#Startup Library

#Useful Information

#Versus Article

Coming up with a good idea is quite often already half of the way, but it is developing and building a product that usually entails a lot of challenges.

At the early stages of the development process, you usually have to create some version of a product to assess the viability and relevance of the idea. The most common options are creating a proof of concept or a minimum viable product, but the choice between them often depends on the complication of the desired final product, the industry, and other factors. Let’s dig into the essence of those options and find out what is the difference in their employment.

What is a Proof of Concept?

The basic definition of a proof of concept (PoC) states that it is an exercise aimed to determine whether a certain idea can be turned into reality. It is meant to test the feasibility of the concept – to be its proof – or to verify that it will perform as desired. The main purpose of developing a PoC is to demonstrate the functionality of a product.

What is a Minimum Viable Product?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is an early-stage version of a product with enough features to validate the concept and attract early-adopters as well as investors. Basically, an MVP helps a team to collect a considerable amount of validated learning about customers with the least amount of effort.

A minimum viable product is usually perceived as an experiment, one that helps to understand how customers will receive an idea.

Note: do not get stuck thinking of an MVP as of a prototype of the product – surely, it can have a physical form, but it doesn’t have to be something to hold in your hands or see in front of you.

Our Vision

We see a proof of concept as a very simplified version of a platform that helps to make user onboarding but has very limited functionality. It is usually not that presentable and might work sporadically, but such simplicity is completely justified – a team usually develops a PoC to present the idea to investors for further funding of the project. As an example, one of our projects Health Life is a pure PoC – it’s not available for publicity because of the decision of the product owner to improve training algorithms and continue testing it among friends.

A minimum viable product is the first release version of a platform that supports all the necessary functionality required for its use. In such industries as software, an MVP can help to receive user feedback at an early stage so that developers can modify and improve it to be able to find a product-market fit. An MVP provides crucial feedback for further developing and improving your brainchild. Another of our projects Dryft may be defined as an MVP because this mobile app for instant road assistance has already been released and got plenty of feedback so we continue to work on it in the second iteration.

The choice between a PoC and an MVP greatly depends on the industry and the product itself. However, in general, developing a proof of concept costs between 10 and 30 thousand dollars, while an MVP development cost ranges between 50 and 100 thousand dollars. These ranges are absolutely flexible – the cost varies significantly due to the industry, the number of third-party integrations, team squad, and dozens of other factors.

Idea valuation is an essential part of determining the right format of an early version of a product for a certain startup – it helps to understand how much time and resources it requires. Let the Idealogic team see your brilliant idea, and our experienced team will choose the best option for the development of your project.

Summing Up

Developing an early-stage version of a product is a challenging yet crucial part of idea realization. Not only a proof of concept or a minimum viable product allows a company to validate an idea without the necessity to build the entire product, but it can also help minimize both time and resources a team might otherwise commit to building a product that won’t succeed.

While both developing a PoC and an MVP may be suitable for your idea, it is essential to understand how much resources you are ready to spend on it and the general needs of a product of your industry. While onboarding a new partner, we constantly insist on starting with the Product Design that helps to alloy your knowledge of the industry and our expertise into the best solution and find which option will work the best.

That’s why if your goal is to develop a final product that will consist of a mobile, a web platform plus an admin dashboard, proof of concept is probably not the best idea. In such a situation, it would be better to develop one of the components – for example, the first release version of a mobile app. On the other hand, an MVP is not necessarily some sophisticated version of a product – it may be quite simple if there is no complex logic.

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