Prototype vs MVP vs Proof of Concept: Differences

Dec 20, 2023 5 min read 306
Daria Sizova Business Development Manager
Yana Trofimova Business Development Manager
Prototype vs MVP vs Proof of Concept: Differences

In order to be in demand among customers and to function successfully in the market, a company must provide quality services or products that meet current needs. At the same time, of course, it is essential to stand out from competitors, as well as to be an advanced organization in the matter of utilizing modern technologies.  

To achieve all of the aforementioned things and invest resources in developing a truly cost-effective project, there are solutions such as Proof of Concept (PoC), Prototype and Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

A lot of people tend to think that these three concepts are all about the same thing. But, this is not the case and below we will take a closer look at each of these stages of product development and explore why they matter.

Pre-project preparation

The work on each project involves several stages of development, which should not be skipped if you want to get a really high-quality result. However, preparation for all this, in the form of analyzing the market and your operation, plays an essential role and needs to precede the points we will discuss today. So, here is what you need to do before project initiation:

  • Be sure to consider your company's current situation, identify your vulnerabilities and what can be improved. At the same time determine what you can get rid of. 
  • Study your competitors and what they offer to the audience. Pay attention to what tricks they use and determine what makes them successful and desirable among clients.  
  • Conduct surveys of your loyal customers about what they lack in your service and what they would like to have. 

Thanks to the collected data, you can already form the basic idea and concept of your project and outline what goals you want to achieve with it.

Proof of Concept

If you wish to avoid investing a lot of time and money in developing an unprofitable solution, you should first test your concept for viability with POC. 
This method allows you to check the technical side of your idea and understand whether it is possible to realize it or not. Here we are not talking about design, performance and other things. This is the simplest and most basic check, which will make it clear whether it is worth moving forward with the development in the originally planned direction, or it is better to adjust the plan for a successful result. In case you are considering the creation of a large-scale solution, it is justified and logical to establish several POCs (for each key element). This way you will cover every aspect of the project.

Once after POC development, you realize that your idea is technically feasible and that you will be able to compete with it on the market, you should move on to a more serious phase, such as prototyping.


This stage involves the establishment of a framework for the future project, the main focus of which is the design and appearance of the main functional units of the solution. The prototype allows you to visualize how users will see the product at the end of the development process. 
During the work on a prototype it is vital to take into account the tastes and preferences of the potential audience, as well as how the company owners and partners want the solution to look. Despite the fact that the prototype is the version of the product that is not available to the general public, it allows the parties interested in the final result to work on it together and decide on the ultimate design.

Read also: MVP vs Beta-version: What is the Difference?

Minimum Viable Product

MVP means that you now have at your disposal an initial, absolutely functional and well-formed model of the application, which you can start presenting to real users. 

The set of functions in this case is fundamental, but that's what we need in order to get user feedback and, based on that, improve the product, which would be the final version. The main thing at the moment is to make sure that the product will be relevant for the market and be able to offer customers something that competitors don't have. Only then, in the later stages, you can introduce the so-called nice-to-haves.

Another big advantage of launching an MVP is that you have the opportunity to prepare the audience for the release of the full version of the product. That is, people will already be waiting for the possibility to try it.

Read also: Common Mistakes to Avoid when Building MVP

SDH - your exceptional IT partner

71% of IT project development companies require a discovery phase before tackling the project. It helps you define your budget, team, and scope of work, optimize costs, and develop a strategy for the shortest time to market. Start your product’s journey through POC, prototype and MVP. At this stage, Software Development Hub can help you with:

User roles and flow description
Crafting high-level backlog 
Technical research and solution vision
Market research
Cost calculation (for outsourcing development)
Competitor research
UI/UX design
User story map
Project architecture design.

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