Proof of concept, prototype, pilot, MVP – what’s in a name?

Bas Leurs and Kelly Duggan – Nesta

Matrix mapping development approaches against maturity and scaleTesting, piloting, prototyping and a few more words besides all mean something similar, but all mean something different – though whether we would all agree on quite what the differences are is another matter.

This post sets out to distinguish and to map the scope of four approaches and to argue for greater rigour in their usage. The distinction is definitely useful and the rigour is definitely desirable, though the quest for absolute rigour of specialist language in general usage tends to end in disappointment. But that’s not a reason not to be as clear as possible, and it’s certainly not a reason for practitioners to be anything other than precise both in their understanding of what they are doing and in how that understanding is shared.

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