Proof of Concept (POC)
What is proof of concept?
Proof of concept, also known as POC or proof of principle, is the realization or demonstration of a certain idea in order to demonstrate its feasibility. Essentially, it’s a small exercise intended to evaluate whether a particular notion or assumption will actually work in reality.
The purpose of proof of concept
Proof of concept allows people to test whether an idea is viable. This is particularly important when building a new product or software, as it allows people to explore the idea’s potential before investing in its production.
In addition, developing a POC can help someone identify any technical or logistical issues with their idea. This enables them to test the idea further and to fix any problems before producing it on a large scale.
On top of that, a successful POC helps convince stakeholders, managers and investors that a particular idea or business is worth their time and money.
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The difference between a POC, prototype and MVP
Occasionally, the terms “proof of concept” and “prototype” are used interchangeably. However, they are two different processes, each serving a specific purpose.
A proof of concept determines whether an idea can be implemented in real life. A prototype, on the other hand, is the initial implementation of that idea - a draft or blueprint of the end product that can then be tested for usability, function and design.
Likewise, a proof of concept is not the same as a minimum viable product. The MVP is an early version of the final product, but it’s more polished than the prototype.
Keep these distinctions in mind when coming up with an idea and business plan. Creating a POC is the first step. Once your POC is successful, you’ll want to create a prototype, and then a minimum viable product, before moving to full-scale production.
Proof of concept template
Now that you know what a POC is, you may be interested in creating one of your own. Here’s what you need to include in your proof of concept document:
Idea: Define your idea. This should include your objectives, the scope of the project, and the resources you’ll need to achieve it.
Team: Identity all team members involved in decision-making and production, as well as any stakeholders.
Testing and criteria for success: Explain how you will test the idea, and clearly define how you’ll measure its success.
Evaluation: Explain how and when you will evaluate the results to see if they met your defined success criteria.
Action items: Propose how to move forward if your POC proves successful.