Having been repeatedly urged into taking up some physical exercise, I finally succumbed to marital pressure and went for a run this morning. During that run it came to me that my condition is not that different from a typical legacy IT system I encounter
on a regular basis.
We both are born from passion, nurtured and developed with the best intentions in mind and then at some stage we’re on our own, left to our own devices – actually, for the legacy system, literally. We grow a mind of our own and little by little spend less
and less time on maintenance and more and more on indulgence. And then comes that dreaded result .... the pot belly – for us humans, literally.
Those once nice and shiny IT systems now attract the pejorative moniker ‘legacy’. You’ve all heard it before: “no, we can’t change our legacy system”, “no way I can get such a report out of my legacy system”, “it will cost hundreds of man-days to make that
change to our legacy system” and “the guy who knew our legacy system died last week”.
For legacy systems there is often no other choice but a complete and costly replacement. So how can we avoid getting there in the first place? As I said in the beginning it all starts with passion and therein lies the answer. We need to develop the passion
to develop systems that are easy to maintain. And the best way to ensure maintainability is by putting your development team on a diet from the start. This means putting down good foundations through a good framework and development guidelines that embrace
simplicity, extensibility and openness.
And for us humans? We are really not designed to spend time on a treadmill, right? So, maybe a diet too? Well, I’ll leave you to think about that as I’m now off for a well deserved lunch.