In this post, we will look at various phases involved in the process of transmigration (the process of updating an aging application).
In the last transmigration post we learned that Application Transmigration:
- Is a process of transferring functional and intellectual core of existing application into an altogether new, more functional format
- Is required when an application needs significant improvement while retaining a lot of existing features
- Is a one of a kind opportunity, that involves multiple stakeholders, both internal and external
TL;DRThe process of transmigration is a long haul journey carried through sequential phases with well-defined criteria...
Long haul journey
During transmigration, one has to take care of the umpteen aspects of an application. These issues are not only technical but are also related to usage, functionality, commerce, resources, legacy data, branding, market position, and so on.
With a vast amount of IP (intellectual property) already at hand, the above aspects become even more significant, and failure to address any of these could be disastrous. Thus, every software engineering process takes a long time, resulting in a ‘long haul journey’.
A phased, systematic approach
A phased approach is essential to carry out the process of transmigration. The principle of ‘Specify all, Implement in steps’ works here. Each step must be executed in sequence.
The key phases are:
Assessment is undoubtedly the heart of the transmigration process. It is where the maximum value-adding work is done. All aspects of transmigration get addressed here.
They can be categorized as:
- Business includes the company vision about the product and the expected future business market positioning.
- Technical includes the product overview, positioning, expected architecture, fitment of technologies, deployment and licensing strategies.
- Resourcing includes items such as a sudden and timebound surge in the competency and capacity requirement, overall costing, etc. It also considers existing clients and their expectations, data, target customers, and the user base. This phase reaches completion with the drafting of an implementation roadmap and price considerations for the whole process. This should include the development, support, and deployment of a product.
The software construction phase is equally crucial, as the new system takes physical shape. The highest amount of effort, synergy, ‘wavelength-matching’, and perseverance is required during this phase. A critical deviation from the regular implementation of a project is that the amount of uncertainty is higher and continuously prevailing. Changes to the original specifications take place. In exceptional cases, changes can be disruptive. Handling this in a very balanced manner is the key to the success of the implementation phase.
During the support phase of transmigrated applications, one has to work on multiple fronts. Apart from the usual support challenges, new challenges are added, retraining is essential.
Adjusting to new workflows is both a physical and mental retraining process for existing users. This slowly changes once the user becomes conversant with the new system. Data migration and achieving productivity expectations are other challenges. Finally, a peculiar challenge to overcome is the ‘old-is-gold’ mindset.
A phased approach described above yields the best results for transmigration. The assessment phase is the heart of the process. It must be conducted with the highest involvement and analysis. At the end of the assessment phase. The application owner gets another chance to re-evaluate the task at hand and define the plan of action. Once the implementation has started, it is complicated to pause or stop. The support phase, apart from the usual support activities, brings the change of skillfully handling the transition.
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