A proof of concept, or POC, is an experiment intended to show that a program, product, or system can be successfully deployed in the real world. POCs are a critical part of IT development that differ from prototypes based on the fact that no final products are immediately produced until the concept itself has been validated.
A POC (proof of concept) is an advanced demo project that reflects a real-world scenario. Since developing products from emerging technologies can be too risky or troublesome, POCs are often used to “prove” that a new technology, service, or idea is viable for the market.
A common use case in the software industry for POCs involves developers examining the client’s requirements, choosing a few to focus on, and creating a proof of concept to solve those requirements. Many developers who choose to forgo testing in a POC environment often end up regretting it.
POCs have a variety of purposes, including:
- Finding working solutions to technical issues
- Evaluating the usefulness and market demand for a new product
- Measuring return on investment for a new project
- Providing an alternative to thorough investigations and market research
Demos vs. POCs
Demos and POCs are two very different methods of testing products and services.
A demo is a quick illustration for potential clients to test and see what a new product or service can accomplish in practice.
A proof of concept helps prove that a system can work effectively in the market itself. More detail-oriented and customizable than a demonstration, a POC shows why a concept has potential in real-world applications by validating that it has demand and can solve the problems it was created to address.
How To Ensure a Successful POC
- Always take feedback. Consumer reviews drive your development team in the right direction whether it’s positive or constructive. Use feedback to refine your concept and decide whether the project is worth pursuing.
- Be flexible. POC deployment is often a learning experience for employees and management teams. A successful POC may require you to change your goals, priorities, staff, and budgets as discoveries are made.
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