This tab references the essays that, in our opinion, constitute the range of information that should be understood in order to do a complete modernization project.  We use “complete”in the mathematical sense of constituting a complete set of the knowledge required to perform the project for the best benefit of the enterprise.  We also use “complete” to mean that 100% of active functionality is brought forward without errors and omissions.

“Complete” also implies, intentionally, that most modernization projects are incomplete. In other words, active functionality is left behind or garbled in the translation, or at the very least the new system will be inadequately tested. Other forms of incompleteness are found in the data brought forward, a significant portion of which will not conform to present business rules, nor will there be provision to ensure that active data (as opposed to archival data) remains compliant with future updates to the validation business rules.

We believe that a site should have this information before embarking on a modernization project.  This essay project is a multi-year effort that might result in a publishable book, but at the least we hope it will assist in preventing failures and shortcomings in projects in both the public and private sector.

Note that some of the opinions expressed are controversial, and some people will disagree with our conclusions, perhaps strongly.  The essays are open for moderated comment, and we plan to post those comments that provide a different viewpoint. Our attorney asks us to add that any comments you choose to make become our exclusive intellectual property and will not result in any payment.  We will not post anonymous comments, but we will withhold your name on request, or remove it if subsequently requested.

This is the list of completed and planned essays; completed essays have hyperlinks:

  • Executive Guide – if you are not very technical, or don’t have the time (or inclination) to pursue these topics in depth, this essay will provide an overview of the essentials that executive management should understand to guide a modernization project according to the needs of the business
  • Business Rule Extraction – if you are planning on rewriting your application or migrating your business rules to a commercial off the shelf (COTS) package, this essay will acquaint you with the issues and alternatives that will confront you; these are the most pertinent toward ensuring success in your project
  • Declarative Implementation Technologies – we believe that Java will be the next COBOL, and that declarative technologies should be pursued in order to manage the complexity of modernization applications and ensure that the new application does not itself become “legacy” again
  • Rationalization of Multiple Applications into One – the most difficult of all modernization projects, this one can be tackled successfully if you start by recognizing that it is much more difficult that you expect it to be
  • Modernization Testing – how it differs from conventional testing in the software development life cycle
  • Data Migration – the problems, perils and possibilities inherent in converting legacy data into a new data store, which may or may not be into a relational database
  • Modernization Automation – the uses and limitations of automated modernization tools and services

Optimizing your business process while modernizing is already well discussed at the Business Architecture Guild.  The Executive Guide essay will summarize the principal business benefits to be established through optimization, but the BIZBOK® Guide will provide a far better summary of the theory and practice than we could provide.

Don Estes