Avoiding the “Big Guns” Stack

We were on a conference call. The client was kickstarting a new project, electing to use an ecosystem less common for them, because of business needs. Right off the bat, the names of the biggest and meanest tools for the job, in that ecosystem, were being called up.

Slow your roll.

I understand how reaching for the most hyped choices seems like a safe bet. And yes, if you’ll be still working on this thing in 3 years you’ll likely want to be using those bigger tools.

But right now? When you don’t know anything about the stack, and can’t even tell if your project will be a success, business-wise?

On each tech stack continuum, there are the biggest options–those tools that will fit the project for years, but that usually require a lot of experience to use properly and are the costliest to set up. And then there are the smaller options–those that are quick to setup and start getting value from, but that might be a pain to scale.

If you just pick your stack off the shelf, going with the most favorite option on Hacker News, you may be doing your project a disservice. When considering options, make sure to take your circumstances into account. Sometimes, choosing a less popular option, yet a safe one, can mean a major reduction in cost of maintenance or in initial time to market. Don’t take your knee-jerk-reaction-stack as being the right one.

Put some extra thinking into it, weigh the different pros and cons, and involve your top people–not just those who are excited about tech, but those that also know how to balance that with the business needs.

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