POC vs MVP

Different meanings to words MVP and POC.

Having worked for several years with startups all over the globe, we found out that 80% of miscommunication comes from 20% of the difference in vocabulary. It turned out, that in different countries and industries CEOs put sometimes completely different meanings to words MVP and POC. Often, they can’t explain the key difference between there terms, and that’s not that fun when your prospect has a budget for POC but gets a quote of X10 - for an MVP. Just because the meaning of the word “POC” or “MVP” was not clarified properly in the beginning.

So, let’s go through the basics.

POC (proof of concept) - is an interactive prototype of your application, visualizing your idea and meant to define your user flow. What’s the most important - it just describes your killer feature and does not pay much attention to the UI and technology stack.

Key points:

  • POC is to build within 1-3 weeks, with out-of-the-box solutions.

  • POC checks technological, UI or a commercial idea. 

  • The killer feature works. Somehow

  • UI is often out of the box - WordPress theme/Flutter plugins, etc.

  • POC shall help you to choose a technology for a future prototype/MVP/product

  • Budget - 500-2000 USD (in Eastern Europe)

And this is how it usually looks like one-pager or a primitive marketplace.

It just checks the market demand for your business process or a key feature. Smooth front-end, blog, support, microservices, partnerships - all this is something over the hills at this stage.

Deliveries:

  • A document, that describes the idea, target audience, business model, business flow, the goal of the project.

  • An app with one working user flow.

MVP (Minimum Viable Product) - a minimal and usable form of your complete product to release and test in the app market. MVP has several users flows, 10-20 screens, and can bring value to the market immediately. It has more or less nice UI, and clear UX. Technologies used may be changed in the future, but it’s not necessary.

Key points:

  • Before creating and MVP a tech team creates a prototype to check if a technical solution can be implemented.

  • Budget 5000-30000 USD (in Eastern Europe)

  • Time to develop 1- 5 months

  • Team - 1-4 developers, and part-time QA, designer, project manager

Deliveries:

  • Working app with up-to-date technologies

  • The core set of features

  • Project design and UI kit

  • UX scheme

  • Project specification with user stories and project requirements, acceptance criteria

  • Configured infrastructure and CI/CD

In terms of the development cycle, there are also some differences. POC usually is developed by one developer and one part-time PM, in one move.

MVP development assumes project backlog, and development by sprints (1/2/4 weeks), and milestones with concrete deliverables. And this is where Kanban/Agile/Scrum etc. begins - that means that without a proper project/product management successful MVP is not possible. Kanban is often used in product teams, especially in game development, while outsourcing companies do know how to work on Scrum in Agile atmosphere.