To buy or not to buy, that is the question…

At some point during your Product Management career, you will run across a situation where you’ll need to decide whether you make a solution in-house, buy a solution from a vendor off-the-shelf, or partner with a vendor for a solution to satisfy your customers’ needs.

The “Buy, Partner, or Make” (…or BPM, not to be confused with “Beats Per Minute” if you’re a music aficionado…) decision can make or break a project and can determine whether a job is done as cost effectively as possible and with the quality required by your customers.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much common industry knowledge about how to make such a decision.

So, where to start?

My suggestion is to start by asking some basic questions to lay the groundwork for your recommendation. What are the requirements for the solution?  What is my least restrictive resource?  Effort?  Money?  Time?  Do any of our existing partners already do this?  Do we already own any solutions that are similar or work in this space?

This is the origin of my Buy, Partner, or Make template.  I just sat down and asked a bunch of questions that after answering will hopefully lead you to the correct path ahead.  I mean, in the end, that’s what you’re really doing with a BPM decision.  Just trying to collect a bunch of answers to questions that will lead you to a decision.

So, my Product Management Survival Kit inclusion #1: Buy, Partner, or Make template

As with all of my templates, the BPM Template is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

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