Last January, I was out thrift shopping with my friend Imani when my phone suddenly stopped working. We’d made it about halfway through a long row of wool coats when I went to check my email and found I had no signal.
“That’s really weird,” I said to Imani. “My phone isn’t connecting to any towers.”
“Maybe the store just gets a bad signal.”
“No, that’s not it,” I said. “There are no bars, not even empty ones. And no little LTE or 4G symbol.”
“Try restarting it?”
I turned my phone off and back on again, and still there…
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve spent my whole career deleting things. I decommission old systems, remove redundant code, and turn off unsupported servers. Anyone who has worked in IT will know that making a new system is hard, but decommissioning the old one is even harder. Getting rid of old things is often called the most difficult challenge in software development.
The problem is that everything is connected. You never simply identify an old system and turn it off. You discover that new, critical systems depend on old, redundant ones. The strategic application you just rolled out will be making…