There are sufficient software ideas, and then there are efficient software solutions. Developing custom software that solves one or more of your biggest technological challenges is an efficient solution that deserves your time, money, and talents.
An efficient solution can improve productivity, reduce time to market, optimize costs, and help users become more organized.
So how do you tell when a software product idea is maximizing efficiency? Enter proof of concept (POC).
What is a Proof of Concept?
What a proof of concept includes
A POC is an assessment of the feasibility of a software idea based on specific use cases. It involves sharing concepts and potential benefits with interested parties.
The POC process includes brainstorming several issues that you must address before bringing the software idea to life, such as:
- Determining which technology to use for the core and supporting elements of the software (e.g., a viable architecture and suitable programming language for the intended use)
- Deciding how it will work (i.e., see how the solution can function in practice)
- Assessing the team’s skillset and determining if they have the relevant skills to make it happen
- Creating a development timeframe
What a proof of concept doesn’t include
In a POC, you’re not developing the features envisioned for the solution. Prototyping and building a minimal viable product (MVP) serve that purpose.
The POC focuses on answering the question: Is this software idea possible in real life?
Some circles refer to a POC as a proof of principle because it tests software ideas against real-life limitations, such as existing technologies.
What are the Benefits to Creating a Proof of Concept?
There are several powerful benefits for creating a software POC.
Keeps your project on mission
Experienced DevOps teams implement POCs early in the development cycle, usually right after ideation. In doing so, you can avoid spending lots of time and resources on ideas that aren’t likely to succeed.
Besides assessing whether you can implement the concept from both a technological and engineering perspective, a POC also indicates if the solution can meet the needs of particular users.
Identify development challenges
You can also use a POC to identify which development challenges are inevitable and which you can possibly avoid. You can then brainstorm with your team about how to deal with such challenges.
For example, a POC can help you find out if the technologies you need are readily available or if they’re even feasible (perhaps they’re prohibitively expensive or still unproven). This can help you determine if you’ll need to hire a developer with experience in a specific development area to assist with solving the problems you might face.
You can also:
- Find a better use case for the solution
- Test the limitations of an upcoming feature in a theoretical framework
If you’re a software-as-a-service (SaaS) business, a POC may help you develop a compelling pitch for investors who want to know how your solution will work. Then, they can assess if it’ll be an efficient investment based on other market forces—such as product-market fit and demand.
Proof of Concept Process: How to Conduct a POC
There are several steps to writing a POC that’s suitable for your software product. Preparation is a major factor in POC, as it is with most processes.
1. Get the right people together and talking
In a proper DevOps culture, feedback from the developers, the system engineers, the client’s team, and end users are all essential to developing a successful POC.
Developers suggest how to turn an idea into an operable solution using existing technology.
System engineers contribute ideas about how the potential solution will meet end-user needs in production and live environments.
Based on the end users’ feedback, you can then determine which features they want and which they’ll actually use. Thus, you can avoid creating bloatware.
Together, the POC team can determine what it’ll take to turn a software idea into a functional solution for a specific customer.
2. Clearly state your “why”
With your expert team’s input, evaluate if there is an actual pain point. If there is, what is it?
Is your organization’s pain point causing substantial productivity loss? Or is it causing financial or competitive challenges? Does the pain point result in significant opportunity costs?
If the answer is “yes,” consider asking yourself the following questions:
- Would you consider experimenting with untested technology and workflows to solve the pain point?
- Is it worth investing significant time, money, and people into solving it?
3. Map potential features to practical benefits
Once you know how the custom software solution should work, you can determine the functions (and then, the features) it should have in its minimum viable version. After that, you can brainstorm if the components are feasible to develop in a real-life situation.
Among the variables you can use to evaluate each component are:
- Technology availability
- Development time
- Ease of use
Then ask, what are your chances of combining all of these factors successfully?
4. Benchmark your findings
Professional developers know that software shouldn’t simply replace an old workflow—it should improve it. So set a benchmark to determine if the potential solution would improve real-life processes (and by what margin).
Comparing how you intend to use your tool with how competing tools work is one way to collect the business intelligence you need here.
Benchmarking in this way can help you to determine which tools the solution must have, how it should optimize work, and what capabilities you’ll need to include in the future.
When you implement this POC process, you’ll have enough information to prototype your solution and develop your minimum viable product.
As a large team of experienced DevOps engineers, Simpat Tech can help you handle everything from ideation and concept proofing, to the development, testing, and production stages of your software development process.
Book a time to talk. to us about proof of concept for your new software idea. We’ll help you build the right custom solution for your unique technology challenges in days, not months.