Delegated Proofs of Concept
So you’d like to launch a new service, product or feature… but you’re not quite sure it can be done technically, or what stack to pick.
In such situations, you’d usually launch a proof of concept (POC) internally. You assign a few devs to this, who will have to go and explore the functional and technological space for that project, and figure out whether it can be done.
Dangers of the unknown
This approach is only natural, but it does carry quite a number of risks, even drawbacks:
- Your devs don’t know what may be possible. Techs, paradigms, language facets: it’s hard to know just how far we can go, what to search for, how to architect stuff when you’re going in blind.
- Produced code should eventually be thrown away. It was exploratory, written without the benefit of experience, hindsight and generally relevant best practices. It usually comes with neither tests nor docs. This would all be OK if it were actually thrown away, but far too often it will eventually serve as a springboard for actual production code, which is a self-handicap.
- Your devs will spend a lot of time on this. It’s expected, as they are mostly throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks, but only a little does. All this time has a direct cost (wages) and an indirect one (longer time to market for what you’re trying to bring about, in a context that might be very competitive).
- You might get a false negative. The lack of existing expertise means your team might call it quits (“can’t be done”) when there’s actually a viable solution. Your competitors might have seen a way, though.
- You might get a false positive. Conversely, your team might conclude to feasibility, but a show-stopper remained in their blind spot. You’ll then dedicate a lot of time and money in a wild goose chase.
POC delegation: a wonderful innovation!
In 2015, Delicious Insights launched an innovative service with POC delegation. Given that there are topics on which we have a wide and deep expertise, tech radar and return on experience that you don’t have; considering that you can already benefit from that for tech scoping and code auditing, why not seize it too for efficiently running your POCs?
- We’ll know fast what techs and paradigms are relevant.
- We’ll produce high-quality deliverables. Clean, well-architected code using best practices, well-commented, tested, documented and geared for maintainability. Actual software craftsmanship.
- If you elect to provide us with enough information about your objectives and project context, we’ll make sure to produce a POC that closely tracks your intended use cases, so you can efficiently use it as a springboard for production!
- We’ll be done a lot faster. Sure, we carry higher hourly cost than your devs, but we’re a smaller team and we probably move faster! This will definitely cost you less in the end, and more importantly you’ll be able to launch this faster than your competition!
- No false positives, no false negatives. You can be confident that if we reach a positive conclusion, you can move forward. And if we reach a “no,” then it’s actually not feasible for anyone, including your competition.
In summary, you’ll spend less to get a faster, more reliable answer and if it’s positive, you’ll be able to bootstrap faster and with less technical debt moving forward! What more could you ask for?!