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POC | MVP | Prototype: The Three Musketeers of Mobile App

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If you deal with mobile application development, you must have come across these utopian terms of POC (Proof of Concept), MVP (Minimum Viable Product), and Prototype. Tricky, the words may sound but can be easily understood by looking at their origin.

All three terms are related to finding the level of “Product Market Fit” achieved by the mobile application the development team is working on. With 48% of the internet getting accessed via mobile devices, more startups are sure to invest in application development and face these terms.

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Product Market Fit is simply the study of compatibility and probability of a product’s popularity once released into the market.

If you are in a startup or the owner of SME, you don’t want to take risks with the software product you are working on. But how can you ensure the mobile app you are thinking of will be a success?

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The POC, Prototype and MVP help you understand the fair chances of success of the app you are thinking of or working on.

They are the standard processes by which you can realize the valuable possibilities of the application the development team is working on. 

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Moreover, for developing an application, finances are required to sustain the infrastructure, tools, and cost of the development team. At times you need it at the very beginning of the project.

The three processes get widely used to bring investors on board by showing off the potential of the app. 

The difference lies in the time and manner in which they are used to win investors from the market. Let us have a careful look over each of them. 

What is a POC?

The term POC stands for Proof of Concept, and as the name suggests, it’s a unique way of validating an idea right at the stage of budding. It is a process in which the application’s novel approach gets checked for feasibility

It leads to more significant insights into the application’s possible success after it gets launched into the market. 

When is the approach of POC useful?

POC is particularly beneficial when the idea of the application is new to the market. For example, developing a social media platform like Facebook or WhatsApp is not new, and creating a POC may not be useful.

However, generating a unique platform for messaging or having some revolutionary changes within the old forum is best addressed by POC. Having developed a POC will allow the developing team to connect with the right investors at the crucial stage of development.

Salient Features of Proof of Concept

  • It validates the idea of the developing team. 
  • Offer significant insights into the feasibility of the project.
  • It is an affordable way.
  • It requires little time.
  • It helps to assess all the risks associated with the project right at the beginning.
  • Aids in making a well-informed decision on whether to continue or drop the project.

What is a Prototype?

The Prototype of a mobile application represents how the app will look once the project gets complete. The multiple sections and pages of the application are well-illustrated, producing a clear idea of how the screen will flow from one page to another.

When is the approach of Prototype useful?

The Prototype approach of bringing the investors on board is incredibly more reliable, as it offers a clear view of how the application will look like soon. 

The method is best applicable once the idea gets validated, and the team starts working on it. However, the ultimate product will require more time and investment is needed before the project gets complete.

Salient Features of Prototype

  • Offers a clear view of the application designs and function before it is complete.
  • Allows rectification of designing and developmental errors from the application.  
  • Easy for both the technical and non-technical user. 
  • Quickly gains the investors’ trust as they can understand the design and functionalities of the application. 

What is meant by an MVP?

This term MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product, and as the name suggests, it is a standalone version of the application. Unlike the prototype model, which only focuses on the representation of the design and features, it offers the users access to all the essential or primary functions of the proposed application.

Thus, the investors get the best idea and feel a respectable amount of confidence when they access the Minimum Viable Product of the application.

When is the approach of Minimum Viable Product useful?

The method is more common at a later stage of development. When the demand of the customers or the investors is of a functional application, MVP proves worthy and also offers valuable feedback to the development team.

Via MVP, you can easily verify the feasibility of the application and have more significant insights into the possible popularity of the final product.

Salient Features of Minimum Viable Product

  • It offers regular feedback to the development team.
  • High level of confidence among the developers.
  • It saves money and time for the development team.
  • More straightforward modification, according to the client’s feedback.

Choosing One over the other Musketeers

All three approaches are closely related, and choosing one over the other will largely depend upon the demand and favorable conditions of the development team. 

It is not like one has the edge over the other. It’s more like what is the present stage of development. Whether the idea is at the primary stage of validation or crossed it long ago will influence the development team’s strategy and approach.


Points of Comparison
 Proof of Concept (POC) Prototype Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
 PurposePOC is the method of validating ideas right at the stage of development.A prototype is to give a clear presentation of how the final product will look like. MVP allows all the primary functions of the application and acts as the mini version of the final product.
 
For checking the feasibility of the idea of the application.
Looking or trying to visualize the design and functions of the application.  Planning to make from the developed application.
When ToPrefer
Not sure about the success of the project. 
Having a limited budget and investors are demanding a lookout of the app. Want to launch an app free of bugs. 
 
Investment is necessary at an early stage of development.
When you want to analyze the functionalities of the application. Trying to improvise the app according to the market demands.

Choosing the POC Approach! 

Before going for a POC, there are specific queries that must have a definite answer as yes or no. 

Are you working on something new or specific components of the app will be completely exclusive, and one of a kind to the users? 

If your answer is negative, then you may opt for a different approach to learn the feasibility and potential of the app. 

However, if your answer is in affirmation, then the Proof of Concept is a must for your app. The next question is then!

Are your competitors working on similar apps?

Chances of yes are relatively high here. Most of the business sectors are not a monopoly, although a few may be of oligopoly structure. 

So, you must be sure that even though there are similar apps released into the market, there have to be things exclusive to your app, which will encourage users to prefer it over others. 

Once you are sure with POC, the app development team should focus and find the high-risk features of the idea. Something completely new may appear to be of high potential but can miserably fail if it’s technically infeasible.

Once addressed with the technical feasibility, you can finally go on with your project. 

However, if the technical feasibility fails, then you must be clear with the fact that investing in your app’s idea is a business full of risks and must think twice before you proceed ahead with it.

Thinking of the Prototype Model? 

The prototype model gets also referred to as iterative, or the tried and tested model. It is best to go for the prototype approach for your app when you want to focus more on the user’s needs and reviews for the app. 

Suppose you are building an app which is for a specific group of audience. You can have the UI designer create multiple screens for your app. The model gives the users a clear idea of how the screen will flow from one page to another.

Based on the testing audience feedback, the app is modified with integrations and deletion of icons or features.

Ultimately the approach will offer you clear guidelines of what the users are expecting from your app; the ultimate designs and functionalities of the app. 

It also becomes more comfortable for you to convince investors on board as you can offer them an exact representation of how your app will look and function on getting complete.

MVP the basic version of your Actual Project

Developing an MVP for your app will ensure the actual feedback from the users. It will act as the fort version of the final product that can be modified and relaunched based on the precise market response of your app. 

But which features should be included in the minimum viable product?

Well, it will depend a lot on the complexity level and the user audience of the app. The development team of the MVP must include all the critical features. 

The critical features being those without which the app will fail to offer the essential utilities to the audience.

In most of the cases, it proves beneficial to startups and entrepreneurs as it reduces the development cost of the app and also brings investors from a larger platform. 

However, it does not mean you will always need an MVP. You can go for the final and complete version of the product when the associated risks with the project are low.

Conclusion

Funds from potent investors are vital for the successful completion of a project. All the three approaches, the POC, the Prototype, and the MVP, are effective ways of winning the investors. 

One can easily connect with experienced app development companies that offer all three strategies for smooth app development. The app development companies’ strategy is preferably based on the client’s needs and stage of development so that the chances of success of the app remains high. 

While choosing one approach over the other one needs to weigh the compatibility and needs of the project.

In this blog I have tried and covered all the crucial aspects related to the three approaches of researching app feasibility. I hope the blog proves helpful to the readers. For more such valuable topics, keep reading this column.

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