When making a build vs. buy decision, there are lots of axes to the decision. I’ll save the political aspect for another time, but here are some of the questions I look to answer when making a build vs. buy decision vs using opensource decision.
- (Opensource) In 5 years, if the project is abandoned, how will I feel?
- How will I feel if we spent $500,000 on building this feature vs. $20,000 in licensing costs?
- How would I Feel if we spent 2000 hours building this feature instead of $20,000 in licensing costs per year?
- If it’s open source; is there an active community? Who runs it? Is it a “search for a business model” team who will likely change the license?
- Is it politically easier to buy or build?
- Can I justify supporting this piece of software for the next 10 years?
- Is this piece of software critical to our business domain or ancillary to it?
- If I build this, what am I not building? What do we have to give up to build this?
What sort of criteria do you use?