How to deal with Not-Invented-Here syndrome

The Not-Invented-Here syndrome is a big organisational problem across many businesses, but probably mostly so in software. The tendency to tout homemade software over anything third party can be a huge detriment to success.

But you should also not never re-invent anything - when it comes to internal and vital business functions, it's often better to write it yourself to be in full control.


When not to re-invent

Matthew Jones has a create write-up of the reasons for, problems with and solutions to the Not-Invented-Here syndrome.

Basically he argues that the solution and the problem is one and the same: replace bad management. However that's not always a practical solution, but then you should argue the case, that self-invented also means self-maintained, and that's definitely costly in the long run.


When to re-invent

The (in)famous Joel Spolsky made a great post with a defense of Not-Invented-Here syndrome all the way back in 2001, in which he argues as stated above to keep vital core business functions internal and not rely on third parties for such important aspects of your business.

Jeff Atwood from Coding Horror builds a bit on this argument in another posts, arguing that just going shopping is also the lazy choice compared to sitting down and building software on your own.

Some developers struggle with this reverse Must-Not-Reinvent syndrome fearing developing things themselves only looking for external tools. Try not to fall in to that trap!

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