When people ask me "should I build an MVP or a POC or a Prototype?" I say, yes!
A lot of enterprises today have various teams working on different projects with ever expanding software needs. Almost every one of them feels the need to overhaul existing systems, create new customer experiences, and launch new business initiatives. There’s a massive backlog of mobile application development work that needs new approaches to decentralize and accelerate. Yet most of these software development projects never see the light of day (Chaos Report, The Standish Group) due to lack of proper planning, poor prioritizing, budget over-runs and numerous other project management related failures.
The need for rapid validation of new ideas
This has made enterprises more cautious about their software development related investments. Decision makers now seek better validation of new ideas prior to investing heavily in a project. They also need to validate new ideas with higher agility. This validation can be done with a Proof of Concept (POC), a Prototype, or a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). However, the teams that have not traditionally managed a software development project, may find it difficult to choose a starting point. Besides, there is no “one-size-fits-all” offering which can meet their varied needs.
So what should you build?
First of all, it is important to go beyond the buzzwords and identify the real business needs.
- Identify what you are trying to validate
- Identify who are your trying to convince
A POC is generally intended for internal consumption and it is employed to validate marketability on a very short budget. It is sometimes developed as part of the pitch targeted at those who decide future investments in your idea. In its simplest form, a POC would involve the creation of wireframes, flow diagrams and an initial design for a mobile or web application. With a POC, decision makers can better visualize the application/solution and its benefits from the end-user perspective.
However, depending on the business needs, you can also take a POC further to develop a mobile application prototype. While a POC shows all the possible features in a mobile App with wireframes, mockups, and flow diagrams, Prototyping involves creating a clickable version. Mobile App Prototyping helps you create intuitive navigation schemes for your App. It is important to mention here that the purpose of Mobile App Prototyping is similar to a POC. Also, the end product is not market ready.
According to Eric Ries, the author of The Lean Startup, “The MVP is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort”. This product should be sufficiently stable to be tested in the market. The term “minimum viable” suggests that the product should contain bare essential features to gauge the market response. Based on this response, iterative development stages would take the product further towards completion.
Usually, following roles are needed to be filled in for a development of POC/Prototype/MVP:
- Lead Consultant – Solution understanding, Team Lead
- Business Analyst – Business Goals, Competitive Analysis, SWOT Analysis, Documentation, Initial Wireframes
- Software Architect – System Readiness Assessment, Server Infrastructure, App Architecture, Technology Stack, Integrations
- Designers – UI and UX
The number of developers might vary and it is possible that a person might handle more than a single role.
Here are the common stages involved in the development of a POC/Prototype/MVP:
- Customer and business requirements
- Functional requirements
- Quality requirements (availability, usability, reliability, scalability, recoverability etc)
- Security requirements
- System requirement – upgrade, rollback, deployment etc
- Performance requirement
- Readiness and constraints
Designing Screenshots, Wireframes, Flow-diagrams and Prototypes
Following tools are commonly used in mobile UI wireframe and other mobile app design related processes:
Development (of MVP)
The above approach for designing a solution requires Agile development practices. A team managed on a Scrum will be able to give you constant visibility into the work progress so that you can provide them timely feedbacks. The size of the team will depend on the product requirement.
While the above definitions might clear a lot of doubts around these practices, they kind of oversimplify the procedures involved. Further, building an MVP is not the only approach to product development. The common aim of all the above practices is to ensure that the product development is put on a specific mobile strategy roadmap with clear goals and visibility for all the stakeholders.
Credencys Credencys Solutions Inc is a leading mobile applications development company and solutions provider which has helped numerous businesses in their business growth. If you wish to develop a POC/Prototype/MVP, we can help you out with our Blueprint workshop.