When to pull the plug on legacy technology

Ok, so I realized my first goal mentioned in the last post was not particularly clear. Let’s iterate and improve, agile, sprint, and all that jazz. First adjustment is: I will easily post at least one interesting piece every month of 2019. How about that?

Let’s go straight to business then: this month’s post will be about knowing when to decommission old IT assets, in particular legacy technology. I subscribe to a few newsletters, and one that catches my attention frequently are the editorials from sqlservercentral.com. Below you can find a quote from today’s editorial, by Steve Jones.

When working on a large project, it’s hard to sometimes keep perspective on whether to keep going or stop and change directions. We often try to continue to improve and fix a project, even when it is not going well. (…) If I’ve spent $20 or $20mm on a project and I am evaluating whether to spent an equivalent amount moving forward, I can’t continue to worry about the money I’ve already spent.
That money is gone whether I stop now or continue on. What I ought to do is look forward and decide if future spending is worth the investment. Certainly my reputation, and often some pain for switching or decommissioning existing work is to be considered, but that’s part of the value and too often we become afraid of abandoning something we ought to get rid of for a newer, better something else.

This is an interesting point of view on how to handle your virtual legacy. You have to make a call at some point. He then links to another article which is also interesting, by Leon Adato from DataDiversity.net.

If you find yourself at a point where you’re justifying not changing a system because that system cost you so much in the first place, (…) consider the goals you had for the original implementation of that legacy technology. Ask yourself:
– Are the original goals for this technology still valid for the business?
– Is the current technology meeting those goals?
If the answer to either one of those questions is no, then it’s time to pull the plug. The moment you say it’s OK to live without something fundamental, like security patches, support, or the ability to upgrade, you’re failing.

Those are some really important considerations, and probably questions all of us in the IT industry should ask ourselves more often. Go ahead and take a look at both articles. Following post is due next month (which is like, tomorrow!). Cya!


About mauriciorpp

Hi, I am Piccolo - but not the one from Dragon Ball. I'm from a highly competitive and fast-paced world too, the IT industry, and this space will be used to share some challenges I face daily on my career. As you will see, I don't do brawls but I need to be a fighter! Stay tuned.
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