If you take a look at my homepage, you’ll see that one of the things I like to focus on in my work is “Proof-of-Concept” testing. I know this is a vague term, which is why I’m writing a blog post about it! The way I see it proof-of-concept testing can take two forms:
- Designing an MVP (minimally viable product) that fulfills the core functions of the client.
- Testing an already existing product or app to see if there are any bugs or features that are not working fully.
So what do I do in each of these scenarios?
Designing an MVP
Basically, this would be the same as any intake process. I spend time with my clients to understand what the goal of their project is. Often clients have this idea, or say “I think it would be great if the app could do this” and that feature is the most minor of things. Creating a web app is like writing an essay or a story, you need to have your goals and points neatly laid out so that you can get to market as quickly as possible and not get bogged down in extraneous details or features that hamper achieving the final goal. Building a plane while you’re flying it is fine (we used to say this all the time when I worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health) as long as you know what kind of airplane you want; there is a big difference between a Cessna and an F-16.
Then we need to make sure your product is sufficiently differentiated from what is already on the market. I am a big believer that “there are no new ideas” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) but that’s not to say that they can not be reiterated or that when combined with something else that there isn’t potential. But nothing would be worse than building something and spending money only to find out that someone else is drinking your milkshake.
Assuming we’ve made it this far (the previous steps can take a while and the better I understand your idea, the better I’ll be able to execute it) then it comes time to best understand which Framework and set of tools will get the task done. Sometimes it is just a Wix or a Squarespace site. Sometimes we need to pull out some “big guns” like a full-on Framework, and you should also know there is also a very robust “no-code” community these days and perhaps your idea would be best suited through one of those (or a combination thereof).
Once everything is set, I’ll get to work. As this is supposed to be a proof-of-concept, it isn’t supposed to take very long to stand something up, think 2-4 weeks before you can start showing things to other people (hopefully people with money, haha). Obviously, development is continuous, but it is also important to set milestones so that you can tell if your product is meeting its goals and also before you have sunk too much time or effort into it that it becomes a losing proposition.