Assess your application inventory before modernizing apps
Before tackling the job of modernizing your applications, you need to assess your application inventory and how it aligns with business priorities. This will help you determine the best technical path to modernization and the effort and resources required. An overview of the approaches can be found in the first blog of this series.
App modernization = business modernization
By taking inventory of what you’ve got, especially tightly coupled monoliths that are hard to iterate, you can prepare your team accordingly and move away from the waterfall-based development methodology. This is an ongoing evaluation, not a one-time job. Aligning your approach with your overarching business priorities allows you to understand what needs are driving you to modernize. Though the risk of re-introducing risk into your portfolio may be high, thoroughly planning each step will ensure your modernization dollars are spent wisely.
Classify your app portfolio
Once you’ve fully assessed your current portfolio, it’s time to classify your app portfolio and lay out the effort required to meet your outcomes. All apps are not created equal, so this step is crucial in understanding the time and resources that will be needed for each app and step of the process. The dependencies here are your code timeline and appetite for risk.
Plan and prioritize
Ben Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I think it’s safe to say he wasn’t talking about modernization strategies, but his point is more than relevant here. If a plan isn’t designed around your unique business situation and bought into by all stakeholders, you are gambling with inviting the same amount of risk right back into your portfolio. Start with projects that can be quick wins and easily shoveled over, then move up your priority list.
It will be a balancing act—low priority projects are good learning vehicles, but might not drive as much business value. Starting with a quick win can be vital in reassuring your stakeholders and justifying investments for longer-term projects, whereas the longer, harder projects may result in a loss of confidence at the start. Dream big, but start small.