Proof of Concept: Definition, Benefits, Best Practices

Demonstrate project feasibility and get your proposals approved with a solid Proof of Concept
July 6, 2022
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Any new idea, project, or product, especially one that requires significant resources to produce, could use a little validation before it sees the light of day—some proof to demonstrate that it is indeed a good idea.

Like how filmmakers showcase a snippet of their film/TV show in the form of a "pilot" to prospective producers, a project or a software product can also benefit from a little Proof of Concept (POC).

If you want your investors to embrace your project, you must demonstrate that your idea is realistic, functional, and commercially feasible.

In this blog, we'll learn what a POC is, why it's crucial for organizations, and how project teams can create an effective POC.

What is Proof of Concept in project management?

A proof of concept or POC helps demonstrate the feasibility of a proposed project or software. In the world of project management, this takes shape in the form of a proposal. This POC proposal should persuade stakeholders that your idea is indeed executable with a proper project management plan.

Having a POC provides project owners, teams, and investors the confidence to move forward with a project since it's intended to demonstrate that the concept will work in the real world.

Benefits of having a Proof of Concept

It helps you identify all the potential risks

Since the process of coming up with a POC is pretty rigorous, it helps you identify all the potential pitfalls and risks you might encounter while developing your project. It allows you to thoroughly think through your idea and figure out all the challenges involved during execution.

Your project is more likely to materialize with a POC

With a POC in place, a project will likely get approval from investors and other stakeholders since you've put yourself through the mental heavy-lifting needed to determine whether the idea is worthwhile. You'll have a clear vision and roadmap and be aware of the expenses involved to go ahead and execute the project successfully.

How is a POC different from a prototype or an MVP?

While people use terms like POC, prototype, and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) interchangeably, they all serve different purposes.

While a prototype is essentially a mini version of the product you intend to produce, a POC is simply proof that a product can be made. A prototype showcases what the product is, and the product's functionality and usually comes after a POC is approved.

On the other hand, an MVP is a final product version with just the essential features enabled to let end users try out the product and collect feedback from them. It's a more refined version of a prototype.

How to write an effective POC proposal

1. Define your project's purpose and scope

It seems like a no-brainer, but knowing the full extent of your project's purpose and scope will help you develop a more grounded and realistic POC. This means knowing the ins and outs of how you'll be executing the project, what you intend to achieve, and how it will solve your target audience's pain points is crucial.

Being clear and thorough with your goals makes it easy for leaders and investors to buy into your proposal.

2. Establish your success criteria

To accurately determine the feasibility of any project, you need to measure your findings against the right success criteria. Besides obvious ROI metrics, discussions with project stakeholders and clients could help identify other success metrics.

3. Execute your POC project

Once you establish what constitutes success, it's time to execute a pilot version of your project. This is the most essential step in the process because you showcase your pilot to a test group, gather feedback, and validate your initial assumptions.

Remember that your pilot project needn't be perfect. Don't be caught up in this phase for longer than you should be.

4. Track your performance

Make sure to document all feedback, reactions, and the improvements you'll be making in case the project gets approved. Track all this data against the success metrics you established. Make sure to use a reliable project management software to keep all this data organized and make it easier to access for anyone on the team.

5. Present your findings

Hopefully, by now, you've adequately proven that your project is feasible, but the last step of the process is presenting your results to the key decision-makers. You should be clear in showcasing the pain points of end-users, how your project solves them, and the key technologies and features you're using.

Also, elaborate on the metrics you used to track success, next steps, plans if the project gets approved, what resources you will require, and any other information that'll help make a more solid case for your project. Always highlight the benefits more than the features.

Smoothly execute your POC projects on Rocketlane.

To run any POC project successfully, you need a tool to maintain a project plan, correspondence with everyone involved, and a way to track and measure progress. If any of these aspects are out of order, you risk encountering roadblocks, delays, and unnecessary back and forth.

Rocketlane's unified project management solution can help you manage projects end-to-end, track and measure progress with its superior reporting abilities, manage team workload, and send and receive status updates, amongst other things.

Please don't take our word for it; take Rocketlane for a spin today and see for yourself!

More resources

  1. Project Management Basics: Risk Management
  2. Project Management Basics: Innovation Management
  3. Getting to the root cause of problems in project management
  4. 10 Project Management Tools You Can Use for Customer Onboarding
  5. Customer onboarding templates for every stage of your onboarding journey

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Rahul Sridhar
Content Marketer @ Rocketlane

Content Marketer at Rocketlane. Former teacher turned tech writer. Occasionally dabbles in comedy and rap music.

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