Escaping the black hole of technical debt – 5438

Anyone who works in business that is over 25 years old is under pressure to modernize legacy IT systems, in a bid to outstrip out competitors and deliver a superior product or service. But over time these systems have built up so much technical debt and complexity that it can seem impossible to break down monolithic code and integrated functionality into smaller more Agile chunks.
Then there is the business of keeping the lights on, and some of these historic systems really are at critical core of the business, such as payment engines for a bank or medical systems and devices, and it becomes almost impossible to replace because ‘it ain’t broke, so why fix it’? This mantra perhaps reflects those in charge of the ATMs using XP, or the NHS using old machines, who save money on IT in the short term but create exposure and risk in the long term.
So what has to change in order to modernise?
Baking quality into an iterative development approach will certainly allow you to maintain a consistent level of quality release after release, but it has to be said that for many organisations this is a huge cultural change. Businesses cannot simply adopt Agile processes. Defining, prioritising and preventing technical debt is what will allow development, and businesses, to be more agile in the long run. This talk will cover where to start, and how to address the black hole.