Published on:
11.1.2021

Guide to a (Less) Painful Technology Switch II

Publikálva:
2021.01.11.

Technology switch itself is quite painful, if you get down to work in the wrong way. In my previous article I summarised why it is worth progressing feature by feature. In this article I give some advice on choosing the right technology.

Technology change is not a painless process, although it might result in faster development, more satisfied developers and a better rate of return even in the medium term. But the change itself is quite painful – especially if you get down to work in the wrong way. In my previous article I summarised why it is worth progressing feature by feature. In this article I give some advice on choosing the right technology.


Previously:

A few months ago, one of our partner companies asked for our help in a technology switch project: They wanted to switch from Delphi, C#, WPF and MS SQL technology to JavaScript. As most members of the developer team used C# for their work, they contacted Green Fox because of the lack of experience. During the years at Green Fox, and even earlier, as a developer, I have worked on several similar projects. I saw many traps and also many good solutions, so I am collecting all these experience in this article and in my previous article.


Consider both the technological and the business aspects


During the technology switch projects, the management often has doubts: I pay a huge amount of money for the technology switch, but how can you assure that I do not end up in the same situation as I am facing now? To eliminate this possibility, besides the developer aspects, some business aspects need to be considered, as well. For example:

  • Is it easy to find developers for this technology? 
  • Is it costly to operate this technology? 

It is important that business and technological aspects must have an intersection. It helps a lot if business managers understand the language of technology. Many business managers attend our Tech4biz courses because they want to have a clear conversation with the developers so that they might co-operate efficiently in projects like this switch.


New technology requires new attitude


One of the most frequent mistakes is to start using the new technology alongside old habits, old development patterns. This is mostly caused by the fact that developers do not know the new technology. As a result, a re-written feature will not meet the expectations and will not make the development process easier. This might easily lead to the false conclusion that the new technology is not good at all. 

Another consequence of missing knowledge is that the project advances much more slowly, and business targets are also not met. Well, it is not enough if the team learns the new programming language, they must learn the new methods and tools, as well.

Mentors of Green Fox have already participated in several similar projects, where one of their main tasks was to show how the new technology is used efficiently. Our experts do not only have experience in new technologies but in teaching, as well. These two types of experience are mixed in our technology switch projects to make the switch quicker and less painful.


Write automated tests


In an ideal case, it is worth creating automated tests for the technology switch. It is an expensive process; it often doubles the costs of the development, but, on the other hand, it makes the technology switch easier. It is worth considering how long it takes for this investment to return.

There is no success without commitment


Even if we skip the tests, technology switch is not a cheap project. The whole team has to learn how to use the new technology, functions need to be re-written – this all takes time and money. To complete the project successfully, commitment is needed on each level of the company, even from the managers. What you can win: after some slower weeks in the beginning, the development process will speed up.


In-house or with help?


It is possible to execute the switch only with in-house efforts. If you are lucky, the developers have the necessary knowledge about the new technology. If not, the team has to learn everything alone. Two things need to be considered here: Is the acquisition of new knowledge taking resources away from development projects? In case of a stall, is it difficult to move on?

Some of our partners asked for our help to make the switch, as well as the learning process of the team quicker and more effective. 


Timing


There is no perfect timing for technology switch. But the longer you wait, the more painful it will be, as the more functions need re-writing and the longer you use the outdated technology. 


Are you considering a technology switch? Read our case study and learn how we helped our partner in their switch!


A szerzőről:

About the author

Peter Szel
CTO
“In the past, I worked at LogMeIn as a senior software developer and scrum master. My favourite programming languages are C# and JavaScript. In my free time I teach programming to children via several NGOs.”

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