What is Proof Of Concept?
You have an idea, you think it is great and you want to exploit it. So you are going to create a prototype, a first version, in which you have put a lot of hope, and have invested time and money. But will your project succeed? Will it be as successful as you had imagined? Are you on the wrong track or have you hit the jackpot?
No idea, you might say, because you still don’t have the proof that your project will work.
That’s where the PoC comes in.
PoC is the acronym for Proof Of Concept.
But what is it and when do we need a PoC?
It is by definition a valuable tool in the context of innovation. Its main use is to reduce the risk of failure. It allows to qualify the potential of an idea using a minimum of resources. This tool or strategy is used by start-ups as well as larger companies.
It is similar to a mini-project, which must be quick in order to validate the project design or not. This step is essential in innovation and technology. It enables the following:
- to take a position on the situation
- to correct certain aspects of the project in question
- and to save time and money.
And even if the PoC takes some time, it is really an investment for the future that will allow you to focus your time and resources on real development opportunities.
Are you looking for a talented team to realize your PoC? Let Maltem Consulting Group’s teams accompany you at a reasonable cost.
Why use a PoC?
The PoC aims to verify the potential of a concept. The concept is what gives shape to an idea, well before talking about product, research or development. The PoC takes place upstream of an innovation project, before having started to concretely invest in development. The idea is to check if the project has potential, if there is a market.
Here’s a simple example:
Think about starting a restaurant. In order to do this, I need to determine what my restaurant is going to look like, what kind of food I’m going to serve, for whom… I need to define the identity of my project.
Then I will have to study its feasibility:
- Where am I going to set up?
- Who are my competitors?
- Do I have an audience for my concept?
- At what price?
- At what time (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?
- And so on.
It is only after this step that I will be able to understand if my restaurant project has potential.
How do you set-up a PoC?
You have to be methodical and organized, as the goal of the PoC is to ensure that your project can develop. It is better to avoid spending all your money and time in the development of a prototype before knowing its proof of concept.
First, you need to define your project and desired outcomes:
- What are you looking for to validate your project?
- For whom is this project intended?
- Will my project meet a need?
- Where does my project fit in the market?
Indeed, you want your project to bring you a certain value compared to the investment you are going to make. So the return must be greater than the investment.
Second, keep it simple. It’s the idea of the concept that needs to be tested, you’re not at the prototype stage yet!
Thirdly, anticipate the constraints for the continuation of the project, avoid starting with unrealistic hypotheses, or a direction that is incompatible with the company’s strategy, otherwise it is a waste of time, especially if the results are positive.
At Maltem Consulting Group, we develop your projects and we accompany you in the implementation of your PoC and during the subsequent IT developments.
What next? PoC, prototype, MVP?
If your Proof of Concept is successful, then this is when you can move on to the prototype and MVP stage.
The prototype is a first copy of a product or service. It is one of the phases of research and development of the design of a product or service, which comes after the PoC. Its objective is to validate the choices made during the design of the prototype (design, materials, functionality, aesthetics, efficiency …). This information will be very important to correct and improve the final product/service.
On the other hand, if your new product or service is based on an already existing and proven concept, the PoC stage can be avoided to focus directly on the prototype.
When your prototype is validated, and you have made all the necessary modifications, you can move on to the MVP (minimal value product) stage.
The Minimal Value Product
The Minimal Value Product is the fact of putting your product or service at the disposal of a panel of consumers who will give feedback on it. The idea is to develop a product with minimal functionalities but which will allow the customer to validate that it corresponds to his expectations. These minimal functionalities are those that already meet the customer’s main expectations, in a way the primary use of your product/service.
Although the product/service will not have all the final functionalities, you will be able to test it on a larger scale and know the interest of the main actors, who are the consumers. Once the product/service has been tested in the market, you can improve and enhance it. This is the last step before the finished product/service.
This third stage of testing has indispensable advantages: it allows you to integrate the customer in the development process well before the final product is delivered.
Returning to the PoC, it represents a tool and an essential step in the realization of your project. It is not wise to try to go faster than the music. You can see the creation of a project as a marathon and not a race. The preparation is what will allow you to have a solid base to go as far as possible.