The Importance of Proof of Concept in IT Solution Design

As an IT Solution provider it’s imperative that, prior to commencing a project we test our ideas to ensure they’re the most effective way of meeting our customers’ requirements. The process of ‘Proof of Concept’ (PoC) allows andersenIT to engage with our customers early in the development phase and ensure that our solutions are fit for purpose.

One major root cause of project failures stems from a breakdown in communication and understanding of the project deliverables and objectives. Undertaking a PoC has several important engineering and marketing purposes, and is a good way of providing stakeholders something tangible that they can interact with. A small investment in this phase can determine whether break-through, innovative results can be achieved.

The PoC is also often very useful for our customers to gain marketing insight to determine cost vs. benefit of certain features. Having a prototype that can be inspected tested and often leads to important insights on the value of different features. This knowledge can be used to develop a final System Requirements Document that outlines critical features that are needed in the first product and features that may be designed-in later revisions.

Furthermore, a PoC prototype helps the engineering team gain a much better understanding of design alternatives which may not be apparent when the prototype project was proposed. In some cases, a different design approach will be deployed in the final product – based on what was learned while developing and testing the prototype.

Leonardo da Vinci used pen and paper to sketch out designs

Leonardo da Vinci used pen and paper to sketch out designs

 

According to several industry studies, design mistakes are cheaper to fix earlier in the lifecycle than when detected further down the road. In the case of a software engineer, for example, if a defect is found in the requirements phase, it may cost $1 to fix. It is proffered that the same defect will cost $10 if found in design, $100 during coding, $1000 during testing.

The Proof of Concept system gives stakeholders a chance to understand the capabilities and limitations of the system and thus select only the processes that bring about the greatest business benefit, with minimal development hassles and quick business returns. In some cases, a PoC project may determine that the problem cannot be solved and the small investment into the PoC prevents launching an expensive, unsuccessful project.

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