Proof of concept (POC) is documented evidence that a potential product or service can be successful.
Developing a proof of concept can help a product owner to identify potential technical and logistical issues that might interfere with success. It also provides the opportunity for an organization to solicit internal feedback about a promising product or service, while reducing unnecessary risk and exposure and providing the opportunity for stakeholders to assess design choices early on in the development cycle.
A proof of concept plan should address how the proposed product or service will support business goals. It should include clearly defined criteria for success, documentation for how the proof of concept will be carried out, an evaluation component and a proposal for how to move forward should the POC prove to be successful. Developing such a plan is an important step in determining how an envisioned product or service will ultimately be delivered to users with the fewest number of flaws.
In some corporate cultures, proof of concept may be referred to as proof of principle.