We took a call today from a carrier we’ve partnered with in the past on a few projects. They wanted to know how we handle credit card and check authorizations. We gave them the simple answer — simple by our standards anyway.

Upon further analysis, this person was calling about an internal Web development project that was now in its 18th month or so — a Web dev project that was supposed to be launched in 12 months and now looked to be closer to 24 months — easily a million dollars in the making. Given the general description of what they were working on, it sounds similar to a project we completed last year in about 18 weeks or so with a 5-figure cost to the client. I don’t mean to sound like, as my teenage kids say, “We’re all that.” But I do want to point out once again that internal Web development is a big mistake.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s easier to control a partner than an internal group, no matter what the project is.
  2. The partner should be able to help you say no to inevitable scope-creep, or at least maintain a harder line on phases.
  3. As in the above example, the partner will have experienced all the various technology challenges, and will have ready solutions.
  4. Existing software for various parts and pieces of the system will already exist. There will be no need to develop and test new code.
  5. Look-and-feel aesthetics, site architecture, work-flow, data-feeds and best-practices are all in place with minor tweaks and customizations with a partner.
  6. A partner will no doubt think of new things for the site that the internal folks would never get to because they are so bogged-down in the tactical stuff.
  7. Politics typically don’t cross the corporate office threshold, so the partner is usually much more insulated from political decisions that wreak havoc on a project.
  8. Inevitable personnel changes don’t impact project continuity, given the right technology partner.
  9. Other projects in and around the backend system suffer because the vital internal resources are diverted for too long.
  10. Costs — all these items translate into money. ROI of previous projects should drive future projects. Two years and an entire team? Yikes! Seven figures for sure.

But everyone has to take their turn in the barrel and go over Niagara Falls. The good news is that a lot of carriers did the internal Web dev trial-and-error gig the last several years. Now their ready to get it right!