What is the difference between an MVP and a Prototype?

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What is a prototype?

As we wrote in previous blog posts, gathering feedback from users is perhaps the most important thing you can do to further shape your product. During the development of your product, you will need to validate hypotheses or assumptions. It is perhaps best to think of a prototype as an example, a taste of what your product could be like. However, it is not how a prototype grows into a mature product. Both products can be used to test a hypothesis.

What is an MVP again?

A comprehensive definition of a minimum viable product (MVP) can be found here. But in short, an MVP is the simplest version of your product that allows you to actually provide value to your user and satisfy and engage them. Building a simple but well-functioning version of your final product ensures that you can quickly go live and start doing business.


How does an MVP differ from a Prototype?

A prototype is about presentation towards stakeholders and testing processes and concepts. An MVP can do this too but is also a good technique to realise a product. It is a first iteration of your product should be good enough to solve a problem for your users. It should be ready to use and effective. Good enough to generate immediate sales from a smaller group of early adopters. Indeed, your MVP should be so good that this group of early adopters become ambassadors of your product.

Prototypes are never used in a product; an MVP, on the other hand, is…

Benefits of an MVP:

  • Launch product in the market as soon as possible
  • Generate sales immediately
  • Start collecting feedback immediately
  • Basis for possible other products
  • Effective use of development hours

Concrete differences between an MVP and a Prototype:

  1. An MVP is actual realisation of a first version of a product. A prototype tests the feasibility of a concept.
  2. A prototype serves for as a presentation to stakeholders, an MVP is developed to generate sales and learn a lot from early adopters.
  3. A prototype is a mock-up, often in the form of videos, a clickable or a presentation. An MVP is ready to be launched.
  4. A prototype demonstrates promised value, an MVP delivers tangible value.


Download the whitepaper: MVP development (Dutch)

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“Defining a good MVP is an art. I’d love to tell you more about it!”

Guido Sival
Business Development Director GlobalOrange
Prototype MVP
Goal Test the feasibility of a concept or proof of concept Maximum learning, gathering feedback and realisation first version product
Focus Presentation to stakeholders Fast development of valuable product
Features Features that may not make it into the final product Basic functionality to create maximum value
Developed for Small audience, testers and stakeholders Early adopters
Legacy Removed after testing First iteration product
Feedback sought on Product, concept or idea First version of working product (1)
Includes Mock-up, videos or presentation First version of working product (2)
Value Demonstrates promised value Delivers tangible value
Developed when Business case not proven / risks unknown Business case proven / risks acceptable
Testing Needs in market Solution provided
Turnover Needs in market Turnover of early adopters

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