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MVP vs POC — what is the difference?

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) vs Proof of Concept (POC)

Did you know that 95% of new products fail?

There are many reasons why new products fail to resonate with customers, but one of them is that the market was not there in the first place.

This is where minimal viable products (MVPs) and proof of concepts (POCs) come into play. If you’re not sure of where MVPs and POCs fit into the world of lean startup methodology, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we will look at definitions for MVPs and POCs, the circumstances in which to utilise them and how you can apply them to your lean startup.

What does POC mean?

The theoretical idea

POC is short for ‘proof of concept’. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘proof of principle’.

The purpose of a proof of concept is to check that an idea is technically feasible. POCs are commonly used in the hardware, software, manufacturing, medical and engineering industries.

For example, let’s say that you want to launch a mobile app. Before wasting time and money creating an app that doesn’t work or that people aren’t interested in, you can implement a POC.

You can spend as much or as little time on your POC as you need. Areas you can look at include:

  • Does your product or app have a unique selling point that will set you apart from your competitors? What other features will it have?
  • How will your product or app align with the organisational goals and objectives of your business? If you haven’t put a vision statement together, this will help
  • Do your existing customers or target audiences like the idea of your product or app? Would they buy it?
  • Is your product or app financially sustainable? How much money do you need to get started?
  • Are there any risks or errors that you need to be mindful of? A SWOT analysis is an excellent way of identifying your product’s strengths and weaknesses
  • What will be your next steps if the POC shows your product or app is viable?

You don’t need to do lots of research here, and you don’t need to look at deliverables — many POCs can be completed in the space of a few days. All you need is enough research to answer the question: ‘is my product feasible?’

If the answer to this question is yes, that’s great! It means that you can move onto the next stage. If the answer is no, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

The additional benefit of carrying out POC research is that you have information to show potential investors and stakeholders. This means an increased chance of funding!

What does MVP mean?

The physical product

MVP stands for minimum viable product. This is a basic version of your prospective product that you have put together. You can use an MVP to see how your customers react to your product and generate feedback you can use to improve it.

The term was coined by the author of the ‘Lean Startup’ Eric Ries in 2009. He defined an MVP as a new product that allows a company to collect the most information with the least effort.

Let’s circle back to your mobile app. An MVP is a simple version of your app you have created, one that doesn’t have all the features or functionality yet. You can launch your app to some of your customers and see what they think of it and how they use it. You can then adapt and improve it based on the positive and negative feedback they provide.

Even though your app is a simple and no-frills version, it should be robust and thoroughly checked for bugs and other errors. After all, you are still launching it to market.

The benefit of an MVP is that it helps you determine if your product is right for the market. If you decide not to go ahead with the full version, you have not wasted your time and money.

Looking for an example of a minimal viable product? Take Kickstarter. Lots of entrepreneurs and startups use Kickstarter to see if there is interest in their product. They do this by offering people the chance to purchase an MVP at a low price. They can then take people’s feedback and thoughts on the product and if positive, they can roll it out to a larger audience!

In fact, a lot of apps and websites that you know and love today, like Spotify, Uber, Facebook and Twitter… all started as MVPs!

Here is some useful info about how Airbnb, Dropbox and Buffer got started on their MVP journeys. What is more, we described even more tactics that were used by Yelp, Craiglist, Uber, eBay and much more.

Should I use an MVP or POC for my startup?

We hope this article has given you clear insight into the definitions of MVPs and POCs and the differences between them. The next question you may ask is… which once should I use for my lean startup?

The answer is that you may very well use both MVPs and POCs when creating your product… just at different stages of the process!

Generally, you would create a POC first. Once you’ve determined that your product is viable, you can use this data to build your MVP.

There may be circumstances where you might jump straight to an MVP. For example, if you are confident that your product is a viable one, or if you are pushed for time and need to launch as quickly as possible.

However, if you need to double and triple check the details before you commit to building, we’d recommend you start with a POC.

Still not sure what MVP and POC mean? We’re here to help

You Are Launched has been working with lean startups, accelerators and venture capital companies since 2014.

Specialising in lean startup methodology, we have the experience and expertise you need to help get your startup up and running.

If you need a hand to help get your idea off the ground, get in touch with us today!

Hope you liked the article and we would appreciate to get some claps from you.

Originally posted at: https://www.urlaunched.com/blog/poc-vs-mvp



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