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Checklist: Should you invest into an internal platform product?

Product management deep dive: Does building an internal platform product make sense in a specific problem space?

First, let's re-cap: what is an internal platform product?

It is a product that contains business logic and then exposes through APIs. Customers of this product are internal teams. The product itself will not have a user interface (UI), however one of the clients of this product might show some information in a UI.

Checklist: do you need to invest into a platform product?

1. Do several teams need to implement the same business logic that is not core to any of them?

Example: The status of the invoice (if it is paid or not) should be consistent in the customer app, customer care system, web page, internal automatic reminder flows

2. Are you ready to deprioritise edge cases for this business logic?

Example: Each internal client will have some flavour of edge case, however one cannot get a scalable platform by catering individually each edge case.

3. Are you ready to have an upfront investment?

Example: It might take longer time to have the logic in the platform product, but once it is there, all clients will get it out of the box.

4. Do you have experts in-house to implement this logic?

Example: You need business, engineering and a Product manager or a Team lead who will be able to figure out which cases can be generalised and implemented and then implement them.

5. Can you invest in this problem space even if it is hard to calculate ROI?

Example: It is hard to put a number on how many hours of development were saved thanks to the fact that one team became experts on the problem space (instead of 5 times solving this problem 5 times).

If you answered yes to all five questions, then you are ready for an internal platform product in this space.

If any of the answers are no, you are not ready at the moment. It is also ok to build a custom backend for a front end.

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