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Deciding if software is too immature

Using php website development software written by other people is one of the most effective ways to quickly build a robust system. This should not be daunting, but the risks associated with it should be considered. One of the most significant risks is the buggy and near-inoperable period often associated with software before it matures, through use, into a workable product. Before considering integration with a software system, whether it is created in-house or by a third party, it is very important to determine whether it is mature enough to be used. Here are ten questions you should ask yourself about it:

Is it vaporware? (The promises are very immature)
Is there a knowledge base for the software?
Are you the first user?
Is there a strong motivation to continue?
Was there a maintenance effort?
Will it survive the abandonment of the current maintainers?
Is there an experienced alternative that is at least half as good?
Is it known to your company?
Is it desirable for your business?
Can you hire people to work on it even if it's bad?

A little consideration of these criteria demonstrates the great value of free software and well-established open source software in reducing risk for the entrepreneur.

Decide to buy or manufacture

An entrepreneurial business or a project that is trying to achieve something with software must constantly make purchasing or manufacturing decisions. This turn of phrase is regrettable in two respects: it seems to ignore free and open source software that is not necessarily purchased. More importantly, perhaps a decision should be called "to acquire and integrate" or "to manufacture and integrate" because the cost of integration must be factored in. It requires a great combination of business, management and engineering skills.

How well do your needs match those for which it was designed?
How Much of What You Buy Will You Need?
What is the cost of assessing integration?
What is the cost of integration?

In the long term, will the purchases increase or decrease the cost of maintenance?
Will its manufacture put you in a commercial position that you don't want to be in?
You should think twice before building something big enough to serve as the foundation for any other business. Such ideas are often proposed by bright, upbeat people who will have a lot to contribute to your team. If their idea is compelling, you might want to change your business plan; but don't invest in a bigger solution than your own project without realizing it.

After considering these questions, you may need to prepare two draft project plans, one for construction and one for purchase. This will require you to factor in the integration costs. You should also take into account the long-term maintenance costs of both solutions. To estimate integration costs, you will need to perform a thorough evaluation of the software before purchasing it. If you cannot assess it, you will be taking an unreasonable risk in purchasing it and you should object to the purchase of that particular product. If several purchasing decisions are under consideration, it will take energy to evaluate them all.

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