Embracing Abstraction for Cost-Effective System Development


05 May 2024

Software Development

Legacy Migration


In the fast-paced world of technology, organisations are constantly seeking ways to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. One revolutionary approach is the strategic use of abstraction in system development and it may seem counterintuitive...at first. Abstraction, the process of removing physical, spatial, or temporal details to focus on the essential aspects of a system, can be a game-changer for organisations looking to modernise legacy systems and streamline their development/system processes.

Maximising artefact value

Many system stakeholders are already familiar with the use of abstraction in creating diagrams, workflows, tickets, and other artefacts that help them communicate and collaborate on a complex project. These artefacts capture the essential features and functions of a system, without getting bogged down by the details of implementation. However, these artefacts are often treated as disposable and not maintained alongside the system or even used to control the system itself. This is a missed opportunity, as these artefacts can be leveraged to create higher-level models that can drive the system development and evolution. Instead of throwing away the valuable knowledge and effort invested in these artifacts, why not reuse them to automate and streamline the development process? By doing so, system stakeholders can benefit from increased productivity, consistency, and quality, while reducing errors, duplication, and maintenance costs. This is the power of abstraction, and it can transform the way organisations develop and manage systems.

Diagram of Abstraction and Cost

Figure 1: Jidoka Abstraction and Cost

The concept of Jidoka, with its emphasis on automation and quality, serves as an excellent reference point. By prioritising these elements over sheer speed, organisations can enjoy a more sustainable and scalable development lifecycle. The Jidoka philosophy suggests that when teams concentrate on creating high-quality, automated processes, speed becomes a natural by-product, not the primary goal.

The strategic advantage

A key benefit of abstraction is the reduction in costs associated with system changes. When compared to the traditional code-based alterations, modifying higher-level models is not only more cost-effective but also less time-consuming. This approach aligns perfectly with the idea of 'slowing down to speed up,' where investing time in building systematic abstraction and automation pays off in the long run.

Organisations that adopt this mindset can build a foundation for reuse and automation, leading to increased control over their development processes and, ultimately, their products. This strategic investment in abstraction allows for a more agile business model, capable of adapting to changes swiftly and efficiently.

Wrapping it up...

So, let's get enthusiastic about abstraction! It's not just a technical concept; it's a strategic move towards a more resilient and dynamic future in system development. By embracing this approach, organisations can achieve a delicate balance between maintaining quality and managing costs, all while accelerating their journey towards innovation and excellence. Let's invest in abstraction and automation to build a brighter, more efficient future for system development!

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