Do you understand the difference between a POC and MVP?

Last updated by Brady Stroud [SSW] 2 months ago.See history

It is really important to understand the difference between a Proof of Concept (POC) and a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). It is also important that clients understand the difference so they know what to expect.

POC: Proving Feasibility

A POC is developed to demonstrate the feasibility of a concept or idea, often focusing on a single aspect of a project. It's about answering the question, "Can we do this?" rather than "How will we do this in production?" POCs are typically:

  • Quick and focused: Developed rapidly to test a specific hypothesis.
  • Experimental: Used to validate technical feasibility, explore new technologies, or demonstrate a concept.
  • Disposable: Not intended for production use; often discarded after proving the concept.

POCs should be built, tested, and thrown away. They are not intended to be used in a production environment.

MVP: Delivering Value

Conversely, an MVP is a version of the product that includes just enough features to be usable so stakeholders/users can provide feedback for future product development.

  • End-to-end functionality: Covers a single feature or user flow in its entirety.
  • Production ready: Developed with more attention to detail, as it will be used in a live environment.
  • Foundation for iteration: Serves as a base to gather user feedback, validate assumptions, and guide future development.


Consider a startup exploring the use of AI to personalize online shopping experiences. A POC might involve creating a basic algorithm to recommend products based on a user's browsing history, tested internally to prove the concept's technical viability.

Building on the POC's success, the startup develops an MVP that integrates this personalized recommendation engine into their shopping platform, deploying it to a segment of their user base. This MVP is monitored for user engagement and feedback, shaping the future roadmap of the product.

Best Practices

  • For POCs: Clearly define the concept you're testing. Limit the scope to essential elements to prove the hypothesis. Remember, POCs are not mini-products.
  • For MVPs: Focus on core functionality that delivers user value. Engage with early users for feedback and be prepared to iterate based on what you learn.

Tip: Ensure your client has a clear understanding of the difference before starting development. This will help manage expectations and avoid surprises.

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