Proof of Concept Phases Explained

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Are you involved in technology development or are you in the process of creating a proof of concept (PoC)? If so, this expert article will guide you through the different proof of concept phases to ensure that your PoC is a success.  

But first, if you need a refresh on what a proof of concept is, then take a look at our guide: What is proof of concept?. 

What Are Proof of Concept Phases?

There are five different Proof of Concept phases that should be followed when creating a Proof of Concept (PoC) for a new product or service. These include demonstrating the need for a product, solution ideation, evaluation, design and presentation of a Proof of Concept. 

The 5 Proof of Concept Phases

We’re going to outline five proof of concept phases that you should follow when starting out on your technology development journey. 

Step 1 – Demonstrating a Need for the Product

The first proof of concept phase to consider is demonstrating a need for the product or service you’re looking to develop. This involves researching your target market and establishing whether there is sufficient demand for the product. 

A useful activity to carry out at this stage is to speak to a sample of prospective customers or users. You’ll want to find out what they expect from a product or service like the one that you are designing. The idea during this initial phase is to gain valuable insights that you may not have considered without speaking to potential customers. 

Demonstrating the need for your product or service will reassure stakeholders that there is value in progressing through the rest of the proof of concept phases. Having early backing from your stakeholders is important as you move forward on your technology development journey. 

Step 2 – Solution Ideation

The second stage of the five proof of concept phases is solution ideation. This follows on from the first phase, where we recommended speaking to potential customers. Following those initial interviews, you’re likely to have identified several pain points that you might not have considered otherwise. 

You’ll want to make sure that your product or service addresses any pain points discovered. You may have to tweak some aspects of your proof of concept at this stage. This allows you to save time and money later when you’re further down the development process. 

Step 3 – Evaluation of Ideas

Now it’s time to evaluate each idea that you identified in the previous stage. We recommend looking at each idea in isolation for the following criteria: 

  • Total cost 
  • Length of timeline
  • Technology required
  • Operational capacity
  • Competition
  • Resources needed 

Once you’ve analysed each solution, you can prioritise which ideas are going to be feasible to implement. These solutions will then make up your proof of concept product proposal. 

Step 4 – Design the Proof of Concept

The fourth step of the five proof of concept phases is designing your PoC. This is where the development starts to feel a bit more real. You’ll be creating a design that addresses the pain points you identified previously. 

All of your prior hard work will help craft your proof of concept, and it could look a lot different to what you had initially envisioned. 

It’s also useful to roll this design out to test users. You could revisit the sample you spoke to initially, that way you’ll learn whether your proof of concept addresses their pain points well. Likewise, you could choose a new sample of users to test your proof of concept. Without preconceived ideas of your product, they could bring different perspectives to the table. 

Step 5 – Presentation of PoC

The final phase in your proof of concept development is the presentation of your PoC to relevant stakeholders and investors. It’s important to clarify what problems your product solves, its features, and the technologies used to create it. 

Your PoC presentation should include the following: 

  • Production schedule 
  • Total costings of product development 
  • Success criteria
  • All resources required
  • User training process 

Once your proof of concept has been approved by stakeholders and potential investors, you can move forward to the prototype stage and continue your technology development journey. 

Learn the differences between Proof of Concept and Prototypes here. 

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