Minimum Viable Website

The concept of a minimum viable product, or MVP, initially popularised as part of a startup product development methodology, is now broadly accepted as a useful mechanism generally to accelerate go-to-market. (If you’re unfamiliar with the MVP concept, you can read a resonable overview here.)

Indeed, MVP is now sufficiently commonly understood and adopted as an approach that the original definition—“The version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort (similar to a pilot experiment)"—is frequently, if not forgotten, then at least subsumed by the broader and simpler aim of reducing a larger project to the smallest sensibly deliverable unit. The ‘pilot experiment’ underpinning of the MVP approach is essentially abandoned in favor of the overriding goal of simply getting the project moving or the next step completed.

In essence, MVP now has a set of tiered meanings:

  • Overcome initial project inertia (or “just get started”)
  • Maintain project momentum (or “keep making small enhancements”)
  • Perform iterative concept testing (the original MVP intent)

This is a good thing. Lots of projects don’t need a pilot experiment, but they do need to get off the starting line; if an ‘MVP’ version of the MVP concept helps that to happen, so much the better.

This website is an example of exactly this. I have a backlog of partially-written blog posts on a variety of topics ready to polish up and publish; I need the website to be up and running before that happens. It’s easy to postpone ‘shipping the website’ in favour of ‘completing all the content, so that the site looks well-populated when it goes live’. Of course, this means that the site will continue to not go live, because there’s always another thing to write, or another improvement to be made. To solve this, I’ve defined my MVP as having nothing more than a limited collection of core information, and this post to explain what I’m doing and why: my minimum viable website.

With that, hopefully, onto the ‘release’ milestone!