PoC vs Prototype vs MVP vs Pilot in Agile

Businesses and teams are increasingly using a range of tools and approaches to develop solutions and test them to minimize the challenges associated with change. These tools include Proof of Concept (POC), Prototyping, Pilot, or even MVP, and aim to challenge assumptions and speed up learning without requiring significant investments of time or resources.

However, these terms are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion, as they can have different meanings in various fields, such as technology, engineering, or product development. It is crucial to understand that each of these tools has a specific role to play in the solution implementation journey, and the correct order is Proof of Concept (POC) > Prototype > Pilot > Full implementation. It is essential not to mistake the stages, as each has unique outcomes.

In this article we will discuss clearly about PoC, Prototype, MVP and Pilot in Agile. Let’s Start!


A Proof of Concept (PoC) is a small-scale test that determines the potential of an incomplete idea in the real world. It's not about delivering the complete idea, but rather demonstrating its feasibility. This tool should be used in the early stages when you first have a hunch about an idea. A proof of concept reveals whether a product, feature or system can be developed, while a prototype demonstrates how it will be developed. For instance, a proof of concept can be employed to test a technical feature of an online service by rapidly constructing a working model.


A prototype is a physical or functional representation of an idea that can be tested and evaluated in the early stages of the development process. It's a way to test an idea's look, feel, and functionality, and to gain insights that can help improve it. For instance, a prototype may be created to test a service touchpoint, such as a website or a script for a service interaction.

Prototyping is useful when there is still uncertainty about an idea, but there's a hypothesis that it will work. By developing and refining the prototype, more details and functionalities can be added to it. This helps test-users understand how the idea works and gives valuable feedback. Prototyping is also a way to engage stakeholders and develop a shared vision for a solution.

Prototyping is becoming an increasingly popular method for governments to develop and test ideas with citizens, especially with the rise of design-driven innovation.


Pilot programs are commonly used as the first step in rolling out a new policy or service, particularly in government. Rather than a test or experiment, they involve a live activity with a small group of real users or citizens using the new service. For example, a government may pilot a mobile app with a group of individuals to test its effectiveness before offering it to a wider audience.

Pilot programs are useful when you believe you have an effective solution and want to identify and address any potential issues before scaling it to a larger audience. By offering a partially implemented concept to a limited population, you can gain valuable insights into how the solution works. However, pilots are ultimately measured by success or failure, and there is limited room for major changes once the pilot is underway.


A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a method for learning about a potential solution while using minimal resources. By testing only the essential core of an idea with real users, an MVP can determine if there is actual demand for the solution and identify what is working and what isn't. This allows for adjustments to be made early on in the development process, also known as pivoting in the lean-startup scene.

Although commonly associated with technology, MVPs have potential for public innovation in situations that require fast-paced political development cycles or ongoing improvement of public services and policies. The MVP approach is focused on using fewer resources and minimal effort to gather insights and obtain feedback on potential changes.

PoC vs Prototype vs MVP vs Pilot – Basic Difference

  • A PoC is typically used in the early stages of development to test the feasibility of an incomplete idea or technology. It involves a small exercise to demonstrate whether an idea can be developed, without the need to fully deliver the final product. It is a low-risk way to test if an idea can work before investing significant resources.

  • A Prototype, on the other hand, is a visible, tangible, or functional manifestation of an idea. It is used to test an idea with others and learn from it at an early stage of the development process. Prototypes are used when you have a hypothesis about a solution but are still uncertain about how it looks, feels, and works. Insights from testing can then be used to improve the idea.

  • An MVP is an approach to accelerate learning about a possible solution while using minimal resources. It tests only the essential core of a concept with real users, and allows the team to find out early on if there is an actual need or demand for the solution, what is working and what isn’t, and make any adjustments accordingly.

  • Pilots are live activities, usually with a small group of real users or citizens receiving the new service. It is used when you believe you have an effective solution and are looking to iron out the creases and understand how it works in reality. This helps identify and fix any issues before scaling up to a wider audience.


PoCs are used to test the feasibility of an incomplete idea, Prototypes test a hypothesis about a solution, MVPs test the essential core of a concept with real users, and Pilots test the effectiveness of a fully-developed solution with a small group of users.

Updated on: 27-Mar-2023

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