The proof-of-concept (POC) is the method or approach to testing a certain idea or concept for its feasibility, viability, and applicability in reality. It helps in understanding whether a certain software product or idea is appropriate for providing a solution to a particular business problem. Usually, a proof-of-concept is either small or may be incomplete. History suggests that the term or phenomena had been in use since the early ’60s.
Proof-of-concept helps in obtaining candid feedback in the early stages of the software development life cycle. POC helps in avoiding unnecessary risk by foreseeing the technical problems related to technology or software product development methodology opted by the team, company or organization.
POC is one of the key steps in the development of critical and complex software. It provides us with precise and accurate probability to foresee the value of the project even before the development begins. This activity usually takes time ranging from a few days to a couple of weeks as well. It portrays a clear image of the near future by suggesting how this project or its subsequent functions will work.
POC is very helpful in agile development environments where the product is released in chunks and it is highly recommended to test the solution prior to start implementing and check whether the solution suggested by the team is feasible and has the potential to solve the business problem or not. POC will improve the outcome of the software development companies which follows agile development methodologies.
The proof-of-concept is generally used in the early stages of the software development life cycle. It also helps in strengthening the idea which you are willing to sell. Few of the software development life cycle stages where POC is applicable and helps in developing error-free software are:
Validation of technical feasibility
Identification of potential risks.
Necessary alterations required to complete a project.
These are few of the early concepts of the software development life cycle where Proof-of-concept can be used. The two notable advantages which you can obtain using POC are:
You can get proof that the idea you are going to implement is really worth making effort to implement it and investing your capital for its realization.
Early proofs can suggest you not to approve the budget for the idea which is not feasible for the market; hence saving your money.
As we know that software project management revolves around 3 major constraints namely which are:
POC can help a software project manager to make optimal use of his resources which are previously mentioned.
Usually, you only need a POC when you or your developer are not sure whether the technical result you want is achievable, this might be because you are trying to do something completely original and new or it might be because you’re trying to create a streamlined cheaper version of something done elsewhere with more investment. Whatever the reason for your doubt the proof-of-concept will lay it to rest one way or another either it will become clear that your product is viable or it will be time to go back to the drawing board.
There are plenty of marginal cases though where the client has wanted to create an original twist on an otherwise proven feature or even achieve something completely new, in these more rare scenarios where there’s uncertainty about how or whether the idea will work we might well need to invest some time and human resource into doing this sort of research before being able to give an accurate estimate for the project as a whole. If your developer advises that a proof concept will be needed before going further with the project estimate this is a great sign that your project is breaking new ground how long it will take and how much your cost will depend on the idea you’ve come up with. But, however much it is it’s far more cost-effective to make a prototype than to dive straight into development and only then find out that the idea is not possible or much more complicated than anticipated.
Various proof-of-concept strategies are being followed in the software industry each with their respective benefits, the essence of these strategies can be restated in these points as:
By applying proof-of-concept strategies you can avoid to spend a lot of money on the projects, ideas which are not viable in the market.
Also, you can counter argument in a stakeholders meeting that your point or idea was worthwhile which would be difficult otherwise if you don’t have proof to defend your argument.
To obtain proof-of-concept in software development is not an easy task, it requires one to be highly skilled in his domain of expertise (like e-Commerce, education or finance etc.) if you think your idea requires to be cross-checked first for it feasibility or viability to survive in the market and for this purpose proof-of-concept activity is to be used when you must opt for highly skilled software development team to get the best results. Make sure that you don’t always base your decisions on money.
Here I will conclude my article by writing in favor of POC that they play a vital role in the successful software product development. It is highly recommended to use POC in early stages of software development lifecycle to avoid inevitable errors in the future which may harm your product’s success or make your investment useless costing you a significant amount of bucks and leaving your dishearten or mentally disturb.
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