Selected Publications

A commissioned Executive Report for the Cutter Consortium- a blueprint for guaranteed success in legacy modernization.Successful Application Modernization and Rationalization:

  • Part I — Short-Term Tactical Approaches
  • Part II — Long-Term Strategic Approaches

Link to the free download of the report from the Cutter Consortium web site.

Software Archeology, Trapped by Stranded Investments“, Cutter Consortium Enterprise Architecture Service Executive Update, Volume 8, number 20, October, 2005.  Text as submitted for publication.


It’s Not Magic,” an essay on the design of automated modernization projects.

Abstract: When there is residual value in a legacy application, an automated modernization project can extract and use that value in a highly cost/effective manner. Of course, in some cases this is futile, but in many if not most projects it has significant technical and financial merit. There are 3 important technical strategies….

Other Sources

Boehm, Barry and Basili, Victor R., “Software Defect Reduction Top 10 List,” “Finding and fixing a software problem after delivery is often 100 times more expensive than finding and fixing it during the requirements and design phase.”

Brooks, Fred, “No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering,” Computer, Vol. 20, No. 4 (April 1987) pp. 10-19, reproduced at

The Business Rules Group (formerly, known as the GUIDE Business Rules Project), “Defining Business Rules ~ What Are They Really?”, Final Report revision 1.3 July, 2000, Note the EU-Rent example in Appendix D which is frequently cited.

Gartner, “High Failure Rates in Insurance Legacy Modernization Challenge CIOs”, “Poor planning and an overly high level of optimism are resulting in a significant risk of failure for the legacy modernization initiatives of CIOs at life and P&C insurers. According to a Gartner survey, only 42% of projects meet the original budget, and 82% take longer than expected.”

Goldberg, Larry, “Seven Deadly Sins of Business Rules.” “Business Rules are the orphan child of the requirements process, and our failure to address this issue continues to contribute significantly to IT failure.”

Holmes, Allan, “Maine’s Medicaid Mistakes,” CIO, April 15, 2006. A detailed description of one of the classic modernization disasters.

Jones, Capers, “Software Project Management Practices: Failure Versus Success,” Crosstalk, October, 2004. An exceptional resource on the probability of success, failure and cost overruns on major projects, based on a review of 250 major projects.

Lundblad, Michael and Cohen, Moshe, “Software Quality Optimization: Balancing Business Transformation And Risk,” March, 2009, IBM Rational Software.

Owen, James, “Business rules management systems,” InfoWorld, Jun 25, 2004. Thought somewhat dated in product references, this is a very lucid description of the problems of extracting and communicating business rules and how they should be described.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, “17th Annual Global CEO Survey”,  (click on Insurance – key findings). “While recognising the significant transformational potential of technology, 64% of insurance CEOs also see the speed of technological change as a threat to growth – much higher than last year (43%).”

Reid Warren S., “CPR (Cooperative Project Recovery) – Reviving the Drowning Large-Scale IT Project,” August, 2007. 13 step model that focuses on the actions that must be taken to turn around, overcome, and compensate for deficiencies in project management, methodology, technology, and people in live, ongoing projects.

Reid, Warren S., “Why Do Systems & Software Projects Fail?,” August, 2007.  “In this new millennium, it is still true that approximately 29% of all large-scale systems projects are successful, 53% are challenged  (with average overruns of 84% in time, 56% in dollars and only providing 67% of the required functionality), and 18% are scrapped and written off altogether.”  A brief discussion of the communication failures that create this result are presented both humorously and very effectively in a “he said/she said” format.

Ross, Ronald G, “The Greatest Irony of the Information Age:  Business Rules,” Reproduced from the Data Base Newsletter, May/June, 1995. Old but still spot-on how projects lose business rules.

Soni, Mukesh, “Defect Prevention: Reducing Costs and Enhancing Quality,” “The Systems Sciences Institute at IBM has reported that the cost to fix an error found after product release was four to five times as much as one uncovered during design, and up to 100 times more than one identified in the maintenance phase…”

Ulrich, William, “Knowledge Mining: Business Rule Extraction and Reuse“. Excellent discussion of business rule extraction.

71ZGFl2CAPLUlrich, William and Newcomb, Philip, Information Systems Transformation: Architecture-Driven Modernization Case Studies, The MK/OMG Press, 2010. While all chapters of this book are quite useful, the insights in the first two chapters should be read and considered prior to committing to any significant modernization project.

In Memoriam – Achi Racov


Achi was my friend and my mentor from when I met him in 1982 until his untimely death in 2002. I learned more from him about computer systems and particularly in their transformation and modernization than I learned in all of my formal education put together. I am glad to say that a memorial fund has been created in his name.  A man of such towering intellect and personal integrity should not pass easily from the memory of those who remain. I miss him.

Don Estes.


Any comments, broken links or identified errors in the list above, please post a comment below. Thanks!


Date posted: March 26, 2015 | Author: | 1 Comment »


One Response to Publications

  1. Larry Green says:

    I totally understand and appreciate your comments about Achi. I had the opportunity to work with him in 93-94 and he made a lasting impression.

    Not only was he an incredible technical mind….he always understood the practical and business applications of what he was working with.

    Gone way too soon but not forgotten.

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