Playmobil or Lego? It depends !


In Business, IT, Project management Posted

I wanna play.

At Créémedia, when a potential client is coming to us with an IT/Web development project, There are a lot of questions going on.
One of them is about which technology is the most adapted to carry out the project.

We pride ourselves on being pragmatic in our recommendations – “selling to sell” does not make sense to us. I even advised a client someday, to stay with his current provider: it would be in his case more economic and faster (two key elements for his choice).

Very often, we have to choose between an off-the-shelf solution and a custom solution. In other words, and to be clear: should we use an existing platform or CMS (Shopify, WordPress, Magento, etc.) or develop a custom tool (Symfony for the backend, ReactJS for the front, Sylius for the e-commerce brick, etc.).

The advantages and disadvantages of each solution are multiple. And obviously each case is unique. But to discuss it, I found the following analogy: the Playmobil pirate ship versus the Lego pirate ship!


The Playmobil pirate ship is amazing. I buy it, I take it out of its box, it is “ready to go”. In less than 3 minutes, I am playing boarding other ships of the warm seas of Indochina.

The Lego pirate ship requires a little more preparation time: I have to build it, following a guide, thinking about the parts I use. It will take me half an hour to start playing.

So far, so good. But what matters is not the fall – it’s …. evolution!

And here is the point that everything changes. The Playmobil pirate ship will NEVER become a spaceship. And if I want to lengthen it a bit, it will be very, very complex. On the contrary, lengthening the Lego Pirate ship is an easier move, and to turn it into a spaceship certainly requires a little imagination but is not impossible.

In practice, what that means: if the scope and the roadmap are clear and defined, and if we have a tool answering those requests, we take it on the shelf (Playmobil). If, on the contrary, scope and roadmap are unclear, or if there is too much difference between the expected functionalities and the native ones, there is a strong risk of exploding budget and planning. And to regret not having opted directly for a customed development (Lego).


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