Proof of Concept or Minimum Viable Product, how to choose? Well really the ultimate goal is to find a product market fit for your new software. You want your users raving about your product, demanding more enhancement and sharing with everyone.
But before we get to this ultimate goal, how do you begin? You are going to have to start somewhere and usually a POC or MVP is a good starting point.
Let’s start by explaining and defining POC and MVP.
If you are new to software development and don’t understand the difference, we just wanted to clarify these first.
POC = Proof of Concept
Think about a POC as the first stage of proving your idea works. You might have a ground breaking software idea that needs to be built, but can it be built with the current technologies? Usually it can, but you might want to prove that before building an actual functional working app.
- Displaying actual feasibility and confirm your idea will work.
- POC’s usually cost less to build because you’re not adding a bunch of features.
- It will save you a lot of future money and time by proving it before MVP / Production stages.
MVP = Minimum Viable Product
An MVP is a functional software that comes with the features needed for uses to use it. It is important that when building out your MVP software, you should really strip back only the features that are really, really needed for it to work well with users how it should work.
- A more polished version of your software that is ready for users.
- You know the concept is proven and ready for the world.
Which approach is best for you?
The main goal is to find a product market fit for your software you are building. When you achieve this you will have high demand for your software with users willing to pay you for it.
We will explain a few scenarios on how to proceed with your idea.
Scenario 1: This is a brand new idea that has not been built before.
Think about Uber. Before Uber, there was no mainstream Uber. The goal was to replace Taxi’s with a rideshare concept. But is this possible? Do we have enough technology for this? There are a million more questions you can ask, but again in this scenario you would probably want to build a POC.
By building a POC for scenario 1 you can test small market segments in areas to prove that the concept is proven. You can prove that a user can in fact request a ride and minutes later someone shows up and picks that user up. Also that user can pay instantly through a smartphone for this ride and not worry about carrying cash.
In Scenario 1 we had all of the technology and it was proven. We had smartphones, we had willing people to pick people up as a service, we had strangers willing to ride with other strangers.
Scenario 2: The idea is not completely new, but your concept will improve upon the existing ideas.
This scenario you want to develop a software you titled “The Uber for Gym Trainers”. Basically your concept is an Uber like app idea where you can request personal trainers around your city to hire.
Well we already know rideshare and on demand service request has a market. We already have seen the technology and apps built with current technology, so we know that it is possible. However you simply have a different spin for a niche market. It probably can be built and you would want to choose an MVP at this point.
Just think of it like this, is my idea unproven and completely brand new? Does the tech exist? Or, are you simply taking an already existing idea and picking a niche market? If the idea does not exist like Blockchain technology, you probably want to build a POC first to even prove it works.
Our closing thoughts about POC’s and MVP’s.
We would just recommend building your POC before your MVP. Just make sure your idea is validated and actually works. Your POC will also lay the ground work to build your MVP anyways, so you should really just make sure your POC is validated.
But as always there is no right or wrong answer, there is no clear path or cookie cutter plan when it comes to custom software development and new technology ideas. The main goal is to solve problems in the most efficient way possible.
We hope this article helped. If you build a Proof of Concept that turns into a large SaaS product, check out this article (5 Business Tips for SaaS Products).
PS: We actually build a POC that turned into a SaaS product we launched. Check out our project, Sidekick Ai.