To build or not to build: here is my suggestion

How compromise can be instrumental in creating what matters

Paul Rand once said that design is the silent of ambassador of your brand.
In modern society, a website is a key branding component. As a young start-up struggling to make ends meet, we created a website that worked for us at the time.

But time moves on and, when we eventually decided to build a new website, we discussed what we wanted to say, how we wanted to present ourselves and what we would do if there were no restrictions. 

I spoke to our lead developer about what technology we would build it in. We’re JS/TS evangelists. We’ve been Angular fans for years. It would feel wrong to build it in anything else.

I spoke to our creative lead about UI componentry. Could we purchase a theme and skin it to achieve her vision? We felt this wouldn’t be possible without compromise, and this wasn’t something we wanted to compromise on.

I spoke to our QA lead about content, and the frustrations and limitations of always having to pull a developer out of their work to gauge how something fits within the structure that had been developed.

To build or not to build?
As a team, we had decided that it was worth it for us to build. We’d need to build an Angular web app with custom componentry that had a bespoke CMS where all content could be loaded and maintained.

This was not a decision to be taken lightly. 

This wasn’t effort that would be billed to a paying client. It would have to be done around the work that keeps the lights on, and deep down we all knew we’d invest more time and more effort than we originally planned.
We all felt that our website is a digital representation of everything we can do; everything we stand for;  and everything we’d like to be able to do for our clients.

But the realities of being a small business mean that there has to be a trade-off. 

There has to be a compromise somewhere that enables us to do what really matters. So after considering it, I felt the blog was the perfect place to find that compromise. 

We didn’t build a custom blog framework; we used WordPress. 

If we did go ahead with the initial idea to build our own custom Angular blog framework, we’d either have launched much later, or we’d have had to have cut corners on the stuff that truly mattered to us.

I think that’s the important part for any small business. When you’re aligned on what really matters, then finding the compromises that can make visions become reality is much easier. 

Compromise is an ugly word; it’s so much more exciting to view compromise as an empowering tool that enables you to build and grow, rather than creating “lack”.

As a software development company there is always the expectation that you will build something from scratch, to “roll your own”. 

However, there may be times where this negatively impacts the business and what really matters for it. 

We are incredibly privileged to live in a time where there are so many services and apps whose platforms are the things that really mattered to the people who created them.

So for your next project, consider what’s already out there and leverage off it, so that you can focus on what really matters to you.

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