What is Proof of Concept (PoC) in software development?

Yulia Darmorez

Yulia Darmorez

January 30, 2023

Are you about to embark on a new software development project and feeling a little unsure about what a proof of concept is and why it’s important?

A proof of concept, or POC for short, is essentially a prototype or sample implementation that’s used to demonstrate the feasibility or potential value of a proposed solution or concept.

It’s like a test drive for a car, you want to make sure it’s the right fit before you invest all your time and resources into it.

We’ll cover everything from the basics of a POC to the benefits and drawbacks. Trust me, by the end of this article, you’ll have a solid understanding of how a POC can validate and improve the potential success of your project and deliver a successful product.

Proof of Concept is a highly underrated development stage. Yet, an effective POC campaign can boost a product’s commercial viability and help you mitigate the pitfalls during the development process.

What is proof of concept in software development? Let’s discover it!

The PoC is not an MVP

A proof of concept (PoC) is not the same as a minimum viable product (MVP).

While both are used to validate and test the potential of a project, they serve different purposes and are created at different stages of development.

A PoC is a prototype or sample implementation that is used to demonstrate the feasibility or potential value of a proposed solution or concept. It is typically created during the early stages of a project before a full-scale development effort is undertaken.

The main objective of a PoC is to validate the technical feasibility of a proposed solution, as well as to gather feedback from stakeholders and potential users.

On the other hand, an MVP is a version of a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers and provide feedback for future development.

It is a product that has enough features to attract early adopters and get feedback on what features to build next. MVPs are usually created later in development after a PoC has been created and validated.


What’s Proof of Concept in Software Development?

The POC or proof of concept in software development refers to verifying how the initial product idea fits in the fast-changing market. POC is a step in the initial stage of the development cycle that requires documentation and evidence about software idea feasibility.

The goal is to prove the proposed app or software will work in real life, provide a solution for existing pain points, and meet the current market demand.

Unfortunately, it’s not a rare case in the business world when an initial idea doesn’t fit in the current market and needs to be adjusted to more mundane requirements before software developers actually build the product.

For software-specific ideas, POC is a process to determine how the development lifecycle should look, what tech stack to use, and the chances the intended audience will accept and use the product daily.

Sounds cool, don’t you think? So, one question arises after this: why would someone want to skip this stage? We definitely do not recommend that and let’s tackle why.

When do you need a PoC?

Basically, a proof of concept (PoC) is like a test run before you jump into developing a new product, service, or technology.

The most common scenarios when PoC is valuable are:

  • If you are developing a new product, app, platform etc.
    A PoC will help you figure out if it’s technologically possible and if it’ll actually be useful to users before you invest a ton of time and money into building it.
  • If you are adding new features to an existing product, service or technology. A PoC is needed to test the feasibility, functionality and potential value of the proposed new features. It’s all about reducing risk and making sure you’re not wasting resources on something that won’t work out in the end.
  • If you thinking of introducing a new technology.
    You want to make sure it’ll work with your current systems and processes, and that it won’t cause any problems. The PoC helps you figure out if it’s compatible with what you already have and if it performs well. Plus, it’ll let you know if there are any issues you’ll have to work out before you fully implement it.

Don't Skip the PoC

Think about POC in software development as a business plan. Laying out all the aspects of your concept on paper and collecting proof from the end users helps predict success in the market and tailor the product according to current needs and requirements.

Many businesses find it tempting to skip POC. However, it’s vital to clear out your idea. And it is so for several reasons.

  • Focus group testing. There’s a difference between what you think people need and what people actually need. Before wasting resources on a product that will get harsh feedback, consider reaching out to the potential user base to test the concept and validate the demand. By gaining insights into people’s needs in specific fields, your final product won’t miss the mark.
  • Validity. Before diving into costly development, ask yourself the essential question that will validate the feasibility of your idea. Is the product technically achievable? Can it be done within my budget? Does the product meet demand? What would the ROI be?
  • Sourcing investors. POC is essential if you’re planning on generating additional funds for the development. An early-designed roadmap indicates to a potential investor that you’re serious about the project and have all the needed data to back your idea up.

Hence there are reasons not to avoid the POC stage, obviously, there are even more reasons to opt for it. We’d like you to learn more about it as well.

6 benefits of creating the POC

1. Verifying market pain points and needs

The goal of POC is to make sure that the product isn’t disengaged from reality and brings value and quality solutions to real-life problems.

Proof of concept validates which pain points solve for the potential user and what target market’s needs you cover. By embracing an iterative process, you can alter the development cycle to get on the right path.

2. Validating technical feasibility

If you don’t have a technical background, it can be hard to determine if the idea of that life-changing app is actually technically feasible.

Consultation with the right experts can help you estimate what direction to take, from what technical solution you can benefit, and which wireframes, frameworks, and programming languages to include in the tech stack.

That way, you can validate that the team can deliver high-quality, robust software and still fit in the budget.

3. Rationalizing the budget planning

Finding an effective strategy to protect your assets is vital for software startups.

Therefore, POC should be included in the business plan to help entrepreneurs avoid wasting all their capital on solutions the market will find useless.

Proof of concept will provide an understanding of how to fulfil target users’ expectations. Also, it is a perfect tool to attract additional investors to secure your funds. 

4. Indicating product limitations

One needs a clear understanding of product limitations and disadvantages to deliver an outstanding and market-leading product.

That way, you can tailor the original idea and explore different feature options and technical solutions to pick the best-suited direction for the future product.

5. Accelerating the product launch

Think about a POC for software development idea as a thought-through plan for the following stages of the development process.

An implicit proof-of-concept campaign prepares you for the risks. Even more, it allows you to find ways to mitigate them.

POC lets startups organize a better workflow and optimize resources to guarantee a smooth product delivery journey without unforeseen setbacks.

6. Making everyone believe in your idea

What is a proof of concept in software development? It’s your evidence that the product idea is worth money, time, and hustle.

Attracting investors or presenting concepts in front of stakeholders without concrete proof won’t get you places.

You can back your idea up with adequate POC and make investors believe you are worth their time. And money, of course.

POC for Startups

Have got a startup idea and still hesitate whether to implement POC? Probably, some stats and perks will draw your attention.

The proof of concept software development campaign is what you need to test the waters and see how welcoming the target audience is. You should proceed to development only after a successful proof of an idea.

POC’s business impact is undeniable.

Proof of concept helps you verify how to shape the future product, what features are vital to include, and which updates and advancements to introduce later.

POC brings security to the startup, helps minimize risk, generates additional funding, and designs a multi-stage plan for large-scalable product development.

What Comes After POC?

POC is just the first step in the journey of bringing an idea to life. Get familiar with the concept of the software development life cycle.

Design a prototype and test it

Some people mistake POC for prototype concepts in software development. 

A prototype is the beginning version of your software or app that includes expected features and UI/UX design.

You can use prototypes to present to the previously interviewed stakeholders or potential users to gain additional feedback.

Such an idea of testing method helps to check whether you’ve happened to overlook some functionality set. Thus, you get a second chance to implement changes to launch a top-notch solution on the market.

Develop an MVP

The minimum viable product includes basic functionalities, core features, and outstanding UI/UX design.

However, unlike prototypes, MVP is a market-ready product version you can put out in the world. It helps you soften the final product launch and start making profits before the final product release.

Create a Roadmap

Roadmaps are essential tools for the development team to navigate further production.

POC helps to create blueprints and a step-by-step guide for developers to guarantee clear communication between all team members and get everyone on the same track.

Wrap up

As you can get from the article, we are ambassadors of the proof of concept stage for software development.

To take your product to another level of perfection, feel free to contact our team and fulfil all your ideas and audience expectations into a complete digital product.


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