5 min read
The focus of this post is on more significant shifts in technology stacks.
Last week, I shared an article about a core framework used in our organization’s platform with an alternative viewpoint. The post sparked posts of similar topics and a conversation among senior engineers, discussing the drawbacks and shortcomings of this once-popular (still popular) framework.
Although I strongly support the inclusion of this framework in our stack, I also value the importance of fostering awareness of choices and perspectives and staying up-to-date with the options available in our industry. Some of our exceptionally skilled team members, who possess expertise in this technology but may have limited experience in supporting a large organization (and I want to emphasize that I mean no disrespect), are utilizing the ideas presented in the article that I shared to post additional articles with similar arguments and propose a deviation from the widely accepted framework.
As frameworks expand and evolve, with more contributors joining in, there are instances where the framework veers away from its original purpose. Evolution in a framework isn’t necessarily harmful but can pave the way for a new technology that addresses the prevailing framework’s shortcomings or pain points.
Supporting future aspiring technology leaders
With a tech career of over 24 years under my belt, I have gained experience as a software engineer, software architect, and senior leader. My experience ranges from working with startups to global enterprise organizations.
I have engaged in numerous discussions on selecting programming languages and frameworks. The delicate balance of embracing new technologies has always been at the forefront. I am amazed at the solutions or implementations I learn from these newer engineers and individual contributors. As a seasoned professional in this field, I wish to impart insights from these conversations, share hard-earned lessons, and offer wisdom to the next generation of tech leaders.
In the face of the relentless progression of technology, the temptation to adopt new and flashy tools grows stronger by the day. Yet, when it comes to enterprise software development, selecting technologies and frameworks should only be approached casually and carefully.
The Responsibility of Choice
Decisions regarding technology adoption in large organizations can have far-reaching implications. They shape the organization’s future trajectory, influence development and maintenance costs, impact the ability to attract and retain top talent, and ultimately determine its overall competitiveness. Therefore, such decisions must be approached strategically, with careful planning and a profound understanding of the potential consequences.
Keeping up with the latest technological trends is crucial, but comprehending the broader scope of transformation is equally vital. It entails thoughtful planning, strategic thinking, and evaluating the ramifications of decisions in the short and long run.
The Art and Science of Managing Change
Change is inevitable, but managing it requires careful consideration, especially in a large organization. The more significant the technology shift, the greater the responsibility of the decision-makers.
Transitioning from a legacy system to a new technology stack presents its fair share of challenges. It goes beyond simply choosing the appropriate framework or programming language. It entails comprehending the entire ecosystem – the architecture, inter-dependencies, business objectives, and the organization’s long-term vision.
The role of an architect in this context is crucial. The architect creates the blueprint for development, scaling the system, and ensuring that the chosen technologies align with the organization’s goals. The architect also needs to consider the impact of their choices on the various stakeholders involved.
Evaluating When to Move On
Recognizing the right time to retire a framework or transition away from a system that has become burdensome is a crucial aspect of technology leadership. As technology stacks age, stacks can often encounter performance bottlenecks, increased maintenance overhead, and growing technical debt. However, before making a decision, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. Even if a framework has its share of challenges, it may offer advantages that outweigh its drawbacks.
When considering whether to migrate to a new framework, evaluating its integration into your organization, the wealth of institutional knowledge built around it, and the unique features critical to your business is essential. Balancing the immediate challenges with the potential risks and costs is crucial. This decision should be driven by a well-thought-out strategy considering the overall business goals, the impact on stakeholders, the expected return on investment, and the organization’s readiness to adapt to a new technology stack. Retiring a framework or making a technology shift should be a deliberate and informed choice, with a comprehensive understanding of the change’s current challenges and future implications.
Evaluating the Options
Following the latest trends and adopting emerging technologies can be tempting without more profound thought. However, it is crucial to approach these decisions with a critical mindset. Before diving in, it is essential to ask some tough questions. Is the new framework mature enough to meet the demands of an enterprise setting? Does it have a vibrant community and reliable support? What are the potential risks associated with this cutting-edge technology? Moreover, it is essential to consider the expected lifespan of the chosen framework and have a plan for future technology migrations. These factors will lead to more informed and strategic decisions, ensuring long-term success.
Strategizing for the Long-Term
Enterprise platforms are often built to serve high-transactional organizations with long-lived systems, where a technological shift can be a significant undertaking. As a technology leader, you must understand the implications of moving from the past to the future – the costs, the investment, the impact on stakeholders, and the risks involved.
When selecting technologies for an organization, it is crucial to remember that you are not simply choosing for a small business storefront. Your decisions should be grounded in a comprehensive evaluation of the available options and a deep comprehension of the organization’s objectives.
While it’s recommended and often expected that engineers stay updated with the latest technological advancements, it’s crucial to remember that your organization relies on you to embrace new trends and plan and support your past decisions. Merely recognizing the latest shiny objects is one thing, but possessing the skill set to strategize, plan, and effectively manage change is imperative for technology leaders operating within large organizations.
In an ever-evolving technology landscape, striking a balance between staying current with trends and maintaining the stability and sustainability of our enterprise systems is crucial. It’s a delicate dance that demands thoughtful deliberation, strategic planning, and a profound comprehension of how change impacts the organization.
Adopting new technologies or transitioning to alternative frameworks in a large or enterprise technology company goes beyond simply following the latest trend. It necessitates thoughtful consideration of the impact of change on the organization, stakeholders, and the company’s long-term vision. As technology leaders, we are responsible for approaching these decisions with a strategic mindset and a well-defined plan, considering the broader context of change.
I invite your perspective on my posts. What are your thoughts?.
Let’s talk: [email protected]