|Research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs|
There's no such thing as a future proof IT system. Good design can prolong the life of your systems, but what's really important is that you care and know about the state of your systems.
Over the years, I have often tried to sell advice on the promise that it would future proof the system. Here are some examples.
Looking back, I was wrong to think that these could future proof systems. These design decisions help minimise the impact of change, but they are never enough. It only takes one bad decision to mess it up. I used to work with large mainframe systems with well designed databases that could be extended easily. But because the systems were not well modularised, the programs became impossible to change. The good efforts on database design were wasted.
And there are lots of things we just can't design out. A system might fall out of favour with management, and not be maintained. It might be much more successful than originally assumed, and hit dreadful performance problems. Documentation and test packs degrade because of constant maintenance. We can only guess what technology changes will happen a few years from now.
There is a good body of knowledge on Software Evolution that looks into why software declines through time, the impact of this, and how to manage it. There's a lot of good stuff there. But just understanding is not enough.
There are two things you really need to future proof your systems.
At Metrici, we have been developing ideas on system governance. System governance captures what's important to you about your systems. It enforces this when you implement or change your systems, so you don't build in obsolescence. It monitors your existing systems to check that they are keeping up with your business and your technology.
System governance gives you a framework that helps you care for your systems. It tells you what you need to know to keep your system viable. You can't future proof your systems. But with system governance you can give them a long and fruitful life.Next: Projects are NOT investments
Minimal IT: research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs.