A proof-of-concept (POC) is an activity to verify if a particular idea or solution is viable, an important component of project management, because it is how a business can confirm that expense, effort and time are well invested in the system development.
A PoC can also be referred to as prototype assessment or prototype analysis. While there are various tools available online to create proof of concept, we will be using scrum tool in this example.
The steps include creating user story, building task list and creating scrum board.
What is a POC?
Proof of concept (POC) is a term used to describe a project or product that is designed to test the feasibility of a new idea or concept.
A POC is often used as a step before launching a full-scale project, and can help determine if there are any issues with the idea or concept that need to be addressed.
A POC is usually developed in one of two ways: by building an early prototype of the product and testing it with potential users, or by conducting market research to see if there's interest in the product and whether people would pay for it.
This can help you identify any problems with your idea before you invest too much time into it—or worse, launch something no one wants!
Why Do We Need a Proof of Concept Template?
The proof of concept template is used to evaluate the feasibility of a project. It is a step that comes before the design phase and after the requirement gathering phase. The purpose of this template is to ensure that the project will meet its objectives. This template can be used for other types of projects as well, such as clinical trials and performance evaluations. The proof of concept template includes an overview, risks, assumptions and limitations, timelines, costs and benefits, stakeholder communication plan and change management plan. The purpose of this document is to evaluate whether or not there are any risks associated with implementing the project. If there are no risks identified in this document then it may be difficult to move forward with implementation because there would be no contingency plans in place should something go wrong during implementation or execution phases.
When Should You Perform a POC?
- You're at the beginning of a new project or initiative.
- You're trying to learn from another initiative at a similar organization.
- You need to test the viability of a new IT system.
- You have no prior experience doing the project you have in mind.
- The change involves high cost, risk, or complexity.
- The project is customer facing.
A POC can be very useful in many different situations.
What Are the Elements of a POC?
A proof of concept (POC) is a demonstration of a product or service that is done to evaluate its feasibility. A POC is also known as a prototype or pilot.
A POC may be used to test the technical feasibility and/or commercial viability of a new product or service. It can also be used to determine whether it's possible to make changes to an existing product or service.
In project management, a POC is often used in conjunction with prototypes and pilots. A prototype is a model that's built to show what a final product will look like and how it will work. A pilot program is typically used when there are doubts about the effectiveness of the final product or service or whether it can be delivered within budget and on time.
During the pilot phase, changes are made based on feedback from users so they can provide input on what works best for their needs before it becomes available to everyone else who might use it later down the line--whether they're internal employees at your company or external customers who use your products/services regularly throughout their daily lives."
How to Write a Proof of Concept Document?
Proof of concept is a document which is written for the purpose of demonstrating the viability of an idea or product. It describes the project in detail and shows that the idea has been thoroughly researched and is feasible.
This can be used as a guide for future projects, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed before they become an issue.
Do you want to know how to write a proof of concept document?
- Define the goal of your proof of concept document.
- Use bullet points to state your product’s features.
- Explain the challenges you plan to solve with your product.
- Create a description of your current target audience.
- Add a growth strategy for the future.
- Illustrate your plans for future iterations.
- Consider the time, resources and tools needed for your project.
- Make a list of important contacts that can be helpful in the project.
A POC document helps you make a business case before building a product or service solution
Here are some tips:
- Proof of concept documents are generally quite short, so make sure you get straight to the point in your introduction paragraph.
- Use bullet points rather than paragraphs when listing out your main points/objectives/goals etc. This will make it easier for you to read back through later on if needed!
- In order to demonstrate that your project has been thoroughly researched, include links to relevant research papers/articles etc. You want people reading this document to know that you've done your research properly before presenting this as an idea for further development.
How to write a proof of concept
The POC process includes five basic steps that project teams can follow, from idea development to its solidification and presentation to investors.
These are the five steps in the child protection process. Image source: the author
Step 1: Clarify the need for the product
When presenting their Points of Support (POC), project leaders should identify the need for the product by stating who the target market is and what their pain points are. However, when listing clients' pain points, project managers shouldn't just assume what those points are. They need to get real and verified answers.
Project leaders can obtain these responses by interviewing a representative sample of clients. They should ask in-depth questions about customer frustrations, what they want the product to do to alleviate their inconvenience, desired user experience, and more.
Doing this allows project leaders to clearly understand their clients' feelings and perspectives, as well as to have a list of specific needs and goals for their POC.
Pro tip: Interview a sample group of clients to understand and check their pain points.
Step Two: Think of the Right Solution
From the sample set answers, project managers can now start brainstorming with their team to come up with the right solutions to clients' pain points, keeping in mind that they also have to be feasible and within the company's capabilities.
The team must then evaluate each solution rolled out according to potential costs, schedule, technologies required, operational capabilities required, competition, resources, and other factors.
They can even narrow down the list of ideas to the most feasible and finalize their proposed product.
Additionally, to solidify the proposal, the team should discuss how the solution could support the achievement of the organization's or stakeholder goals.
Pro tip: Half-baked ideas are welcome. You don't need to be a perfectionist when thinking, at least, in the early stages. You will be surprised how half-baked ideas can lead you to the best solutions.
Step 3: Create and test a prototype
the team comes up with a feasible idea, they must build a prototype based on the specific requirements, features, and solutions.
The project team should allow the individuals in their sample set to attempt to test the completed prototype. This is so they can quickly determine if the product has actually addressed the pain points the group shares.
Testing it with the same group allows the team to document their observations more easily, which is essential for the next step.
Pro tip: Prototyping isn't an end in itself, it's just a means. Don't get too caught up in building the perfect prototype. While you need to be careful and vigilant, don't stand in this stage for longer than you should.
Step 4: Collect and document notes
While testing the prototype, the project team should collect and document the sample group's feedback about their experience, their reactions, and any other valuable details, including their opinion of the user interface.
The collected feedback allows the project team to initially verify the usability and feasibility of the solution. It also informs the team of any improvements required for the proposed product and gives insight into other relevant actions going forward.
For a quick reference to the team about the responses collected, they can log the feedback into their project management software.
Pro tip: Use a cloud-based platform to get feedback. This way, it is easier for the project team or even sample group to share and collaborate.
Step 5: Submit the POC for approval
With the concept tested and improved based on feedback, the project team can now prepare its presentation for stakeholders.
They must provide, among other things, the pain points that the product solves, the features that address those problems, and the technologies built in to prove the value of the idea.
They should detail the components of product development and project management, which they should also note in their project tracker.
These include clearly defined success criteria or project management metrics, evaluation measures, timelines, next project management plans (if approved), resources needed, and other aspects discussed earlier.
Once the team has successfully presented the idea and convinced stakeholders to agree to it and invest, they can begin implementing it.
Pro tip: focus more on the benefits your product brings, rather than its features.
Knowing a bit more about the PoC template would help you save a bit of your time and efforts when trying to collect software based information from different sources.