How to Build a Proof of Concept
Avoid Startup Failure and Money Loss by Building a Proof of
First of all what is a Proof of Concept or POC?
In basic terms, will the market hate or like your idea. Hence, giving you the critical
feedback on whether to pursue, modify or scrap your concept altogether.
From my personal experience not enough startups apply this critical step in the initial phase
of starting a business. A phase which can potentially save you a lot of time, money and
When developing a proof of concept, what does one need to
First of all, what is your idea and what do you want to develop?
What is your budget? Can you even afford a proof of concept?
Keep it simple. You are not building your entire core idea.
The duration of the proof of concept should last no longer than 1-4 weeks.
You need a software development team that understands the proof of concept approach
Don’t try and address all market devices (You can look at that if you move beyond the POC phase)
What software do you want to develop?
eCommerce shopping application
Golf swing video analysis application
Online radio application
Stock trading application for short-term investors
For the purposes of this article, let’s use the example of building a POC for a “Stock trading application for
short-term investors”. This could be a debatable or an unethical idea due to the short-term market
approach. However, the application could provide specific high return tips on the stock market with a special
What type of functionality does this POC need to cover?
Search stock price function
Portfolio balance and transaction history
The application has the ability to provide profitable portfolio recommendations to buy and sell tips
Placing a trade
You will need a team to execute the proof of concept
Project Manager (You could play this role to lower costs)
Front-end or UX Designer
The online freelance platforms offer a variety of affordable costing options from all around the world. Many
of the skill sets of workers found on these platforms specialise in prototyping and proof of concept projects.
Make sure you do your homework before hiring.
Software Development Approach
The point of a proof of concept is to keep everything as simple as possible. In this case you are building a
stock trading platform.
The special algorithm I mentioned earlier only needs to be simulated also, not physically developed.
The user interface doesn’t have to be perfect, it can be in a prototype format. It all depends on what type
of specific feedback you require from the user during testing.
I do advise an interactive approach where the software is developed in a series of “sprints”.
On the first sprint could just focus on look and feel if you require. Here you have the option of performing
usability testing at the end of each sprint or upon completion of the proof of concept development phase
Plan and organize
Download templete here: bit.ly/1mRZ6EM
This is where real users can assess and provide direct feedback to your proof of concept team.Let’s say you
perform a usability or beta test of the POC with 10 people for half a day as an example. The outcome of the
POC might produce the following outcomes or results by which you need to make a decision on:
10/10 respondents love the idea. Continue to the next stage.
7 people love the idea, but 3 people feel the product requires improvement. Continue to the next stage,
but plan to address the improvement in the next build stage.
5/5 respondents like the idea. Address the improvements immediately and have another round of
7/10 respondents didn’t like the idea. Assess whether any improvements would change their opinion of
the software. They might like the idea, but find the idea too risky.