How company culture relates to the legacy of the past

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I always have the brightest ideas under the shower. Today it was not an exception. I was thinking about what should be the topic of the weekend. Usually, on Saturday morning, I always post about the things I was thinking about last week. My main question, which I was thinking: 

Why still blooming the legacy, and what is the reason for this situation?

I concluded to the company culture. If you think it over, most of the organizations suffering from the shadow of the legacy systems are really conservative. They are conservative not only in the aspect of the technological change but the mindset also! 

This aspect is well documented by Melvin E. Conway:

Conway’s law

If we only think about the Finance industry. Especially Banking! Their core business is conservatism. But the world is changing, and the change is not a linear process, more exponential. On many conferences, we are hearing how technology giants and the fintech companies take our business. But what is the fundamental difference in their organizational level? They have a different mindset. If we take the work of Frederic Laloux, we can quickly identify which evolutionary level we are currently. 

I tell you the competitors are mostly from the green level. 

Why is this important? 

At this point, I reflect back to Conway’s law. We are working in silos. Projects try to solve individual problems, entirely not evolutionary. And this is why it is a short term strategy, with long, long projects. These cultures promote the success of the projects, not the whole organization’s success. Here is how we miss the future potential. As projects strictly planned, mostly in waterfall methodology, no space for creativity. 

As projects realize complete individual systems, they not promote components, which are the elementary grassroots of microservice-based and component-based thinking. 

This mindset promotes the renewal of the legacy with legacy. This is why sad to see what level of technological solutions creates the past great names. In the new world, they would be fired for this performance. But here we travel back to the culture.

Fear-based, mechanic culture focus on work performance, not the results. Even if we realize what we are doing, it is not serving the organization’s future goals. We try to pack it into a shiny dress to hide the rotten parts. That’s simply because the culture doesn’t tolerate the failure. That’s the tragedy of these large legacy systems, instead of small microservices/ reusable components. If you think one part is a dead end, you simply drop out and replace it with a one that works well. But if you spent billions to large systems, and conclude to the same situation. It has the same results as a harakiri.

Component-based system design is also related to Conway’s law. Just think over the current Y and Z generation’s sharing addiction. 

It is not new behavior. The same happened in the ’90s with the opensource software solutions. Some great guy realized that if everyone shared the created code, we need fewer efforts than building everything from zero. Now the most significant software houses joined this revolution. Nearly everyone using these codes, especially the smart ones.

That’s why lazy and smart developers always the right choice because they will create a solution with minimal efforts.

I think this is a point why I always need to fight when I’m talking about inhouse software developments. Most of the opponent party miss the fact we can use existing codes, to accelerate our coding process, not building everything from the ground.

Finally, a question, which time will decide:

Are the conservative organizations able to jump to the mindset which needs future-proof business, or will they extinct like the dinosaurs?

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