Behind every business, there is an idea. But behind a successful business - there is a decent idea.
So how can one tell what is a good one, and which not? Having specific goals is something that helps identify a brilliant concept.
Many people dream of becoming an entrepreneur, a man of one's own delivering a product to the masses. Still, it can hardly become a powerful starting point for a business if it lacks measurable benefits.
To attract some investments, resources, and expertise to a project, it's vital to have solid reasoning as to why your idea will eventually work out. And that's what the Proof Of Concept is needed for.
Proof of concept helps demonstrate the vitality and practical value of a business strategy and calculate its financial profit, which is a crucial criterion for investors.
In this article, we will have a closer look at what is a proof of concept, its difference from a prototype and an MVP, and how to write a proof of concept.
What is a Proof Of Concept?
Shortly, the definition of proof of concept may be laid out the following way. Proof of concept is a display of a suggested product to check its vitality and the possible potential.
Proof of concept is needed to convince the company management, stakeholders, or potential investors to engage in your project. The proof of concept should show the product's core characteristics or functions and give an understanding of its further perspectives. Proof of concept presentation typically contains the product's core goals, functionality, design, unique features, and how those are going to be implemented.
All this helps the deciding parties to evaluate the idea's potential and get a better understanding of the product. Thus, it's essential to develop a project basing on the company's strategic goals.
Proof of concept is an essential step before creating a prototype or an end product to release it.
Proof of concept is a kind of a test project implemented before full-fledged project launch. This stage helps determine if a product can actually prove useful and has a target audience, which helps avoid failure.
Who Needs a Proof Of Concept?
As a rule, Chief Innovation Officers (CINO), business owners, CEO's, Project Owners, and start-up owners are the ones who turn to the proof of concept.
A simple example: let's say you have an idea of an exceptional start-up that you are eager to establish. But you don't seem to have enough funds, that means that you need investors (yes, just like in the Social Network). So, you'll have to persuade investors that your project is the one worth going for. Here "an awesome idea" is unlikely to work. Any investor wants to see a comprehensive concept, financials, and sound reasoning to invest in your product.
The importance of proof of concept in start-ups is obvious. Still, proof of concept is applied in many other industries.
It is standard for the movie industry, too. Stagecraft, for instance. Jon Favreau tested this technology in his many films before shooting the Mandalorian.
In software development, POC is used to test new technology or functionality. For example, preparing documentation for a pilot project usually involves proof of concept.
In other domains, proof of concept can determine the product's market demand.
POC vs. Prototype vs. MVP: what are the differences?
Many people often use and, at the same time, confuse the terms proof of concept, prototype, and MVP. It happens mainly because all of them indeed represent a preliminary stage of the product before its end-version is delivered. Yet, each solves a relatively specific task.
We've already touched base on the proof of concept: its main objective is to show that a project is worth doing. Now let's see what the remaining two are for.
What is Prototype?
A prototype is the project's next step, as it physically implies a working POC model that can be tested.
The prototype has the full functionality that investors or potential clients can try. It serves the two primary goals. First, it can help win more investment, and secondly, it allows testing, which, in turn, helps detect and fix bugs.
What is MVP?
MVP is a logical next stage after proof of concept or a prototype. But it solves other tasks.
MVP's main objective is to launch a business and collect real-time data from the competitor's data. MVP entails minimal functionality and is aimed at the product's end-users.
MVP can identify the project's financial success. Click here to know more about what is MVP.
5 Stages of How to Write a Proof of Concept
To come up with a good proof of concept, there are some requirements to follow. To fulfill them all, we have broken them down into a few steps:
1. Define your project goal.
At the early stages, you should have a clear picture of what you are looking to have created and why. The crucial question is, what needs your product solves. Then it is recommended to analyze the market, identify competitors, and ensure you have a better offer.
2. Organize a team.
To produce an efficient proof of concept, you'll need the right people assisting you during all the production stages: from planning to analyzing potential clients' feedback to improve the proof of concept.
3. Don't neglect the testing.
Have your potential clients test the product. You'll discover some possible mistakes as well as it'll help you realize if you are moving in the right direction. Also, dealing with your target audience will help you set success criteria to measure its productivity.
4. Document your POC.
We recommend having everything you do thoroughly documented. It helps analyze the feedback and decide on the next steps. It's essential for keeping the team well-informed of the entire process.
5. Make a presentation of your POC.
Having your idea properly communicated can hardly be overestimated. You should not just lay out the facts and figures, but also elaborate on the proof of concept goals, the big idea behind it, and the audience's needs.
A proof of concept is a valuable tool to sell your product better and win more investments.
To help you come up with the right criteria for proof of concept or assist you in developing one, don't hesitate to contact us.