Three Questions to Ask Before Beginning a Modernization Project

BrandPost By Brandon Edenfield
Jul 22, 20143 mins
Enterprise Applications

If you’re about to start a legacy application modernization project, it’s critical to make sure you have a solid plan. Find out by asking some key questions that will save a lot of time and money down the road.

1. Whether you elect to migrate all at once or in phases will ultimately set the stage for the entire modernization.

This initial decision will determine overall project duration and cost, when staff will be required and how much risk will be addressed at one time. Which implementation route is best often depends on organizational styles and strengths, available budget and urgency, as well as the complexity of your individual legacy workloads.

2. Are we prepared to properly resource our project?

Resource requirements will vary in both number and participation level depending on the particular stage of your application modernization project. Even with a partner engaged, you will need to devote internal staff at some level during every phase of migration.

Typically you will need to dedicate the greatest number of internal resources at the beginning and end of your project. Team members will be needed to perform source code and data collection, as well as outline your specific functional and infrastructure requirements. Likewise, a series of on-site meetings are usually held during the initial assessment phase to plan the full implementation approach and clearly define team member roles and responsibilities. It’s equally as important to allocate dedicated IT and business unit resources during final testing and production cutover. These team members will ensure that the transformation has met all user and functional expectations.

During migration, it’s important to have team members with strong decision-making and execution abilities to help with implementation. Effective program managers capable of clearly communicating goals and expectations will keep milestones on track.

3. Are we prepared to stay focused on our goal?

After clearly setting your end goal, maintaining focus throughout the application modernization engagement often dictates your ultimate success. Once a project has begun, there may be pressures to accommodate incremental enhancement requests. Be careful. Doing that makes it harder to meet agreed-upon milestones and validate your target end state against the plan.

Instead of embarking on changes that could potentially lead your team to wander off on costly tangents, document all requests and determine whether they should be addressed before or after the project’s completion. Any potential project change or scope creep should be communicated and ratified up and down the organizational chain before being acted upon. Otherwise you may miss important project milestones.

Like most large-scale IT initiatives, every legacy modernization project includes some amount of unexpected challenges. Addressing those issues as early as possible will help keep your implementation on track.