Build vs. Buy?

Alex Mitchell
Aug 13, 2015 · 6 min read

The Ultimate Product Manager Decision

Each and every week, I make at least one build vs. buy decision for the digital products I manage.

Here’s a recent sample:

Do I want to pay for this service or can I do it myself?

As a product manager with limited development resources, you surely face the same daily/weekly/monthly dilemma.

Build vs. Buy: 10 Factors You Should Consider

10 Factors You Should Consider

1. Is this project related to my team’s or my business’s focus?

2. How long would this take to Build? How long to Buy and integrate?

3. How much time do I have to launch this product?

4. What timing and knowledge uncertainties are there with each path?

5. What is the user-facing quality difference between Build and Buy?

6. What vendors sell a solution to the problem?

7. Are vendors dependable or small startups likely to shut down?

8. How much does it cost to Buy vs. Build? (Don’t forget to value your developer’s time!)

9. Does the solution match your business type? (Solutions that are right for an enterprise probably aren’t right for your startup.)

10. What’s the risk that a bought solution breaks in the future or a built solution needs to re-built?

When Should I Almost Always Buy?

Save yourself a headache by purchasing solutions to some problems
  1. How to Succeed as a New (Or Not So New) Product Manager

When Should I Almost Always Build?

Building is strongly recommended for Core Features and Customization

How Do I Know When Buying was a Fail?

The Fail Whale

How Do I Know When Building was a Fail?

What does Building Fail Look Like?


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