How Do You Know Your Project is Legacy?

CTO & Co-founder

The last time you developed your project was several years ago, it works well to this day, so you didn’t even think about system modernization. Perhaps you should make some changes to make your software faster and compatible with the current technology trend… But, how do you know your project is legacy?

According to the Legacy systems and modernization report by Deloitte, one of the main drivers for upgrading legacy systems is technological relevance. Obsolete projects lack flexibility and come with significant technology debt because of dated programming languages, architectures, or databases. 

Read on to learn the most common reasons why your project is legacy. 

1. How old is your project? 

One of the first things you should take into consideration is when the project was written, on what platforms and frameworks. The older it is, the more likely it’ll be legacy

Check what programming languages were used — perhaps they are no longer used or are used differently. The thing is that the code written for old operating systems or frameworks may no longer receive support, or you need to make changes to the code to make it work properly. 

2. Frameworks and programming languages used

Speaking of support, some legacy products stop receiving software updates, so check whether the programming language or frameworks are still relevant and supported by the vendors. You can check when LTS (long-term support) ends on the official website of the framework or search for information about security updates. 

Keep in mind that obsolete or rare technologies typically lack compatibility. Outdated technology or overcomplicated architecture makes it hard (or even impossible) to add new functions. And when the application or framework is no longer supported, it’s more likely that your project will need to be rewritten. 

3. The number of developers that worked on a project

Do only a few people in your company understand the data collected under the project? Review the system and think about how many years ago it had started and how many developers or companies have worked on it. 

When an IT project involves multiple software houses and a number of developers with different levels of expertise, it can cause too much interference with the codebase. It’s because of a different approach to specific problems. 

4. Constant maintenance and refactoring

Any IT project requires constant maintenance to work well. So, make sure that your project is regularly reviewed, tested, and refactored. Refactoring helps when code is added and eliminates problems before they become costly. 

Also, is your project properly documented? Usually, when the project passes from hand to hand, the documentation is never fully updated. And when it lacks technical documentation or when the documentation is insufficient, it becomes useless for developers

5. Server technologies used

Server technology has come a long way in recent years, so what we call servers today is vastly different from what we had several years ago. Is your project based on cloud or random servers? Have they been updated? 

Why does this matter? If the project is based on legacy systems, it can be incompatible with modern software. Plus, obsolete systems are more vulnerable to data breaches and malware, as obsolete software no longer receives security patches. 

6. System performance

What can also set off a red flag is slow system performance, lack of flexibility, and high operating and maintenance costs. Being unable to adapt also causes problems for the end users

According to Akamai’s report, even a one-second delay in page load speed can cause a 7% loss in conversion. So, when the system is dead slow, doesn’t scale, and fails to perform, it needs modernization. 

How do you know it’s time to modernize your legacy project?

If you noticed at least 3 things we mentioned above that accurately describe your project, you should consider it as legacy. Note that maintaining legacy code is costly, affects your team, and causes a number of difficulties, so you need to act quickly. 

Eliminate problems before they overwhelm you and make your code functional before it turns into a real pain for your team. 

Wrapping up

Any system or technology that slows down a company’s ability to grow should be modernized. Of course, software modernization can be costly and time-consuming, but running a business based on a legacy system can be even more painful. As legacy systems are usually less secure and more prone to attacks and data breaches, you need to update all or some of your IT stack before it gets too late. 

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