Keep it simple: First a POC than a MVP

To build and test new functionality for your customers you can create a POC (Proof Of Concept) or develop a MVP (Minimum Viable Product). But creating a MVP from scratch is often not simple, since quality aspects such as security and privacy can rise severe realisation challenges. 

There is no general accepted definition of what exactly a POC or MVP is. Definitions are a bit context dependent, depending on your specific project, product and organisation. But in general sense it is good to clearly separate a POC from a MVP.

In short:

  • A MVP is a product that is usable for customers in production and is maintained. So a MVP is implemented in your business processes and IT landscape and can be used for real production usages.
  • A POC is a way to examine a solution or an aspect of a solution to gather information. E.g collect evidence if the idea is viable to create. Most of the time you perform a POC to minimize risks before creating a MVP. Developing a POC is the quickest way to validate or invalidate assumptions about a concept or idea.
Examine viability of an idea or concept.Create a product that delivers value in the simplest way possible. It just needs to work.
Used to determine development and implementation time and cost.Used to learn how customers will use and respond to a new product.
Needs a clear focus and goal.Goal is clear. A working product in production.
No need to be tested in a production environment.Involves more time than a POC since basic quality criteria (security/privacy/reliability etc) must be met.
Minimal investmentEnables learning by collecting data when your MVP is implemented in production.
Gives better understanding of problem or solutionCan be used to evolve towards an even more valuable product in future.
Can be real simple.Create a product that has value as simple as possible.

The outcome of a POC can be used to speed up creation of a MVP. But improving a software prototype until it is ready for production, so evolving a POC towards a MVP, is not recommended. But reusing the generating knowledge of a POC to create a MVP simplifies the creation of a MVP.