Legacy modernization, legacy migration, and legacy retirement projects present significant risks to an organization. It is not uncommon for these projects to experience severe delays or to run catastrophically over budget.
Given the potential rewards for successful legacy projects, however—including rapid adaptability to market demands, reduced staffing levels, and lower maintenance—legacy modernization is an imperative. Thus reducing risk in legacy projects is key.
Requirements are the most important point of leverage for reducing the risk of legacy systems project failure. The requirements models that may be most useful for legacy modernization are:
By rigorously clarifying and defining business objectives before initiating a legacy retirement project, an organization will identify the real reasons the project is needed. Adopting a new technology because it’s what the competition is doing, or politically driven system adoptions, are legacy retirement reasons that not only won’t add value, they can cost the organization a significant amount of money with poor return on investment.
Figuring out the real benefits to your organization before development starts is critical to creating a product that the best chance of being successful.
Using visual models such as process flows to map out all the processes currently involving the legacy system reduces project failure risk from missed or incomplete requirements. Further, by using process flows, business analysts can clarify areas where users will be impacted by changes to processes, identifying areas for user training that will help speed successful adoption of the new system.
Organization Self-Assessment for Legacy System Project Readiness
1. Do you have the business processes documented, and KPIs defined and prioritized on those processes? Do you know which business processes are critical for the business and cannot break?
2. Do you have well-defined business objectives and use them to prioritize potential new features to be implemented?
3. Do you have a strong partnership with your business users? This helps ensure the new solution is valid as part of ensuring adoption.
4. Does your business analyst team partner as business architects with your organization’s enterprise architects?
5. Are your business analyst teams prepared to thoroughly elicit and manage legacy replacement requirements to reduce rollback risk?
6. Do you have enough senior business analysts with experience in legacy replacement projects to lead, coach, and support other business analysts, and to ensure development and QA/testing have what they need for the legacy project to succeed?
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Download Legacy System Retirement Projects: Key Considerations for On-Budget and On-Time Completion
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