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For your information a PoC (Proof of Concept) has many applications in different domains. It is also called proof of principle. PoC verifies whether any theory possesses practical applications and whether it can be made tangible. It is usually small in terms of size.
Definition of PoC in Software Development
A PoC (Proof of Concept) in software development determines whether a particular software idea is feasible. The step is taken at the onset of a software project. The PoC also provides the details of how the software will function and the reasons the proposed software is worth the investment. Technical feasibility is verified as also the ability to offer real-life value to intended customers.
Why is PoC Indispensable?
Proof of concept (PoC) in software development should be the first and foremost step to be taken by the responsible party. This is shown to save substantial time and money. If PoC is either not done at all or done in the wrong way the end solution is likely to fail. If the PoC process shows that the proposed solution is feasible then the end results are more likely to be favourable.
Suitability to Market
Sometimes software is created by companies assuming that there is a market for it. Only when the finished product is released in the market does the software company realise that they made the wrong decision. By this time, considerable time, money and effort is lost. Making a PoC and getting it reviewed by a group of future customers helps in determining whether there is market demand for the software. Then a suitable call can be taken whether or not to go ahead with the software project.
Remember, PoC is Different from Prototypes
Many people confuse PoC with a prototype. But it is not so. A PoC determines whether a product can be built or not while a prototype shows how the product is built. Thanks to prototypes, the developers can visualise how a solution will function. The prototype contains elements such as layout, navigation, design and others. Once PoC confirms the viability of the solution, a prototype is built.
PoC is crucial as it’s a significant test prior to starting work on a real project. It determines whether the final solution provides real-world uses. A PoC obtains feedback from each person involved in the software project. Note that PoCs don’t generate deliverables. However, it outlines the weaknesses of the software solution and the relevance of the idea. A PoC verifies whether a useful software solution can be built by using the existing technologies. It also finds out whether the idea is profitable and offers real value.
Major Benefits of PoC
The Software Development Process
The PoC is developed first. If the result is positive a prototype is built. If the prototype works satisfactorily an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is built. Feedback on the MVP is sought and incorporated on the final product.
How to Ensure the Accuracy of PoC?
It is important that all stakeholders be included. Discussions are held on important factors such as the limitations, risks and opportunities of the software project. Consensus should be obtained on project direction. A document or presentation should be created with complete details of requirements and technical specifications.
Important Steps to Craft an Effective Proof of Concept (PoC)
Here you need to check if a similar software is already in the market. Estimate how much time it will take to develop the product. Identify if your company has the necessary resources to develop the software? Upon release will the software product still have market value? Can your company afford the development cost? What is the ROI (Return on Investment) you are expecting?
There may exist different methods to develop the software. Be open to ideas and different solutions. Ponder over ways to offer extra value than the existing solutions in the market. Consult the company’s technical resources who will inform you what is feasible as well as what is not.
Upon finalising the solution, make a prototype of the solution. It should display the UI/UX and desired features.
Display the prototype to the target audience that includes potential users as well as the stakeholders. You will get an idea on the solution’s market value. Incorporate available feedback in the prototype.
Document all the collected information as a roadmap. The roadmap should list each step in the process of building the proposed software. Project goals should be explicitly written. The document will also serve as a simple to understand manual to the software development team for developing the software.
PoC is an invaluable tool to explicitly and coherently define ideas and software product orientation. If your company is already using PoC in their software development methodology then continue the good practice. If not, start using PoC right away to experience the manifold benefits. The investment of time, money and effort in PoC is well worth it. Note, make sure you get the PoC done by experienced staff with expertise in PoC creation as well as knowledge of the latest software technologies and business processes.
Irrespective of whether you want to add new features to an existing software solution or you are developing a completely new software solution a quality PoC will make sure you use the quickest and most direct route to the development of the software. A PoC gives clear and valuable insight into any proposed software project’s advantages as well as disadvantages. As a result, software developers are able to give crystal clear solutions developed in the best manner possible.