Proof of Concept (PoC) is the name given to the simulations performed before production starts to ensure that the concepts from the planning and creation stage work in the real world. In the context of software development, a PoC is an important step to determine the viability of a new app idea before investing significant resources in its development. These lab tests are the first step needed to take your project out of the realm of ideas and check how it reacts and adapts.
The Proof of Concept normally features a summarized, simple, and incomplete implementation. Let’s say you are developing an app on Android Studio. A PoC is a small-scale prototype of the app that demonstrates its key features and functionality.
During the PoC phase, developers work on creating a basic version of the app with its core features. This allows stakeholders to test the app’s functionality and evaluate whether it meets the user’s needs. This phase also helps identify potential issues and areas of improvement before the app is developed on a larger scale. Ultimately, a Proof of Concept will determine whether the app is worth investing in further.
In these tests, a flowchart maker can be used to facilitate the process. This is a tool for developing a visual guide to any process, with symbols and shapes depicting each step, so all teams can easily understand and refine existing workflows.
Why Is Proof of Concept Important?
Proof of Concept is the best way to get a sense of how an idea will be implemented in practice, and whether it will be successful or not. Once the objective and scope are well defined, it is possible to carry out extremely laborious procedures that have a high investment value.
Therefore, it is not a bad idea to apply some tests to enrich the feasibility study before taking a big risk of trying to put the project into production. This is where the Proof of Concept comes in – usually as a very small part of what the final product will look like. It is a valuable trigger for decision-making and the viability of a theoretically-based idea.
In the worst-case scenario, the PoC will also indicate whether or not it is worth allocating resources toward a project that is unstable from a technical and market point of view.
What Are the Benefits of Proof of Concept?
While initial planning may have a solid foundation, the scope of a project almost always undergoes changes during the production process. Some insights and failures are only perceived once the software is working.
Therefore, planning and carrying out the Proof of Concept right at the beginning of the conceptual structuring of the software is necessary. It prevents any waste of resources and determines whether a project is worth going further.
A well-executed Proof of Concept can help teams avoid problems and provides many benefits of its own, such as:
- Identification of failures or problems during software development, thus avoiding future bottlenecks.
- Cost reduction; the sooner a failure is identified, the lower the costs involved in resolving it.
- Optimization of resources and time of the team involved in the project.
- Greater customer satisfaction. One of the PoC’s objectives is to guarantee the delivery of products compatible with the needs of the target audience.
The Proof of Concept has another advantage — it generates value for the company that uses it. Any concept or idea that has not been strategically executed in the past, however extraordinary it may be, may have a value that has gone unnoticed.
With a PoC in hand, developers can negotiate and seek investments. From this conceptual documentation, they will be able to convey the value they are creating with perfect clarity.
How to Create a Proof of Concept?
To effectively create a PoC, you need to follow certain steps. Before you begin, draw up a Proof of Concept checklist containing the following questions:
- What are the objectives of the PoC? In other words, what are you trying to achieve?
- What are the specifications that need to be tested in the PoC?
- Is it possible to do this within the defined timeline?
- How will this be implemented in the current workflow?
- Does the project have any real value that needs to be considered?
- Are there enough resources to complete all stages of the project?
After these questions are answered, the relevant team members begin researching and developing a solution. Now that you are aware of all the advantages that a Proof of Concept can provide, it is time to learn how to use it in favor of your company.
1. Define the Concept to Be Tested
It may seem obvious, but it is important to emphasize that the first thing you should do when creating a Proof of Concept is to define which idea should go through this validation process.
This means determining the concept itself, as well as the objectives related to it, the scope of the project as a whole, and the resources you need.
Here is the time to define which idea, methodology, or concept will be put to the test. Make sure to define:
- The idea to be developed;
- The purpose of the PoC;
- Project scope;
- Necessary resources.
2. Assemble the Team
After defining the objectives, it’s time to identify the collaborators involved in both the development and decision-making of the PoC. This stage also defines the functions of each member.
Certain approaches are useful for improving a team’s performance during the proof of concept stage. These include the Scrum framework, a strategy that organizes the team around a common goal. A flowchart maker, a tool for visualizing project information quickly, will also help.
3. Success Metrics
Define what a successful project will consist of, and what needs to be achieved over the course of each stage of the PoC.
4. Execution of Tests
After defining the metrics, developers can now prepare tests. This will provide data-driven insights on whether the concept is successful. To achieve the expected results, approach the Proof of Concept as a tool or a strategic routine.
This will determine the best direction for your project and technology team to follow. It is important to run test cases with positive and negative scenarios, as this will allow you to evaluate all possibilities, document the results and conclude whether the concept is successful.
5. Evaluate the Results
Finally, the team should meet and evaluate the test results. Now is the time to compare results and assess whether the prototype meets the criteria and key performance indicators. From this analysis, it will be possible to determine whether the new app idea or solution meets the customer’s needs and what adjustments to be made.
PoCs are a great means for considering whether an app meets your requirements, and is ready to be launched on the market with optimal customer satisfaction. By validating the app concept in the PoC phase, developers can mitigate risk and reduce development costs. PoC also helps refine the app’s functionality and evaluate its potential value proposition.
As we have seen, planning and executing a successful Proof of Concept is not without its challenges, but these can be minimized by following certain steps.
An effective way to streamline the PoC process is by using agile teams that know how to use self-organization principles, adapt agile management tools, and create a culture that encourages innovation. All these make the steps required for a Proof of Concept even more productive and lead to better results.