Eating the IT Elephant: Moving from Greenfield Development to Brownfield by Richard HopkinsEating the IT Elephant: Moving from Greenfield Development to Brownfield by Richard Hopkins

Eating the IT Elephant: Moving from Greenfield Development to Brownfield

byRichard Hopkins, Kevin Jenkins

Paperback | April 29, 2008

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A Practical, Start-to-Finish Approach to Managing, Evolving, and Transforming Legacy IT Systems


For every IT executive, manager, architect, program leader, project leader, and lead analyst


“Richard and Kevin introduce us to a reality that’s often neglected in our industry: the problem of evolving legacy systems, a domain they call ‘Brownfield development.’ The authors identify the root of the problem as that of complexity, and offer an approach that focuses on the fundamentals of abstraction and efficient communication to nibble at this problem of transformation bit by bit. As the old saying goes, the way you eat the elephant is one bite at a time. Richard and Kevin bring us to the table with knife and fork and other tools, and show us a way to devour this elephant in the room.”

Grady Booch, IBM Fellow, co-creator of UML


“Most organizations in the 21st century have an existing, complex systems landscape. It is time that the IT industry face up to the reality of the situation and the need for new development methods and tools that address it. This book describes a new approach to the development of future systems: a structured approach that recognizes the challenges of ‘Brownfield’ development, is based on engineering principles, and is supported by appropriate tooling.”

Chris Winter, CEng CITP FBCS FIET, IBM Fellow, Member of the IBM Academy of Technology


Most conventional approaches to IT development assume that you’re building entirely new systems. Today, “Greenfield” development is a rarity. Nearly every project exists in the context of existing, complex system landscapes--often poorly documented and poorly understood. Now, two of IBM’s most experienced senior architects offer a new approach that is fully optimized for the unique realities of “Brownfield” development.


Richard Hopkins and Kevin Jenkins explain why accumulated business and IT complexity is the root cause of large-scale project failure and show how to overcome that complexity “one bite of the elephant at a time.” You’ll learn how to manage every phase of the Brownfield project, leveraging breakthrough collaboration, communication, and visualization tools--including Web 2.0, semantic software engineering, model-driven development and architecture, and even virtual worlds.


This book will help you reengineer new flexibility and agility into your IT environment…integrate more effectively with partners…prepare for emerging business challenges… improve system reuse and value…reduce project failure rates…meet any business or IT challenge that requires the evolution or transformation of legacy systems.


·   System complexity: understand it, and harness it

    Go beyond the comforting illusion of your high-level architecture diagrams


·   How conventional development techniques actually make things worse

    Why traditional decomposition and abstraction don’t work--and what to do instead


·   Reliably reengineer your IT in line with your business priorities

    New ways to understand, communicate, visualize, collaborate, and solve complex IT problems


·   Cut the elephant down to size, one step at a time

    Master all four phases of a Brownfield project: survey, engineer, accept, and deploy


Richard Hopkins is an Executive IT Architect for IBM's services business. Over the past eleven years he has delivered a wide variety of systems, including a biometric-based national identity card system, a credit card account services system, and a customer management system for a national government. Tens of thousands of users and mi...
Title:Eating the IT Elephant: Moving from Greenfield Development to BrownfieldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6.1 × 0.7 inPublished:April 29, 2008Publisher:Pearson EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0137130120

ISBN - 13:9780137130122


Table of Contents


 Foreword by Grady Booch  xv

 Foreword by Chris Winter  xvii

 Preface  xxi

 Acknowledgments  xvii

 About the Authors  xxix


Part One        Introducing Brownfield

Chapter 1        Eating Elephants Is Difficult  3

Chapter 2        The Confusion of Tongues  23

Chapter 3        Big-Mouthed Superhero Required  37

Chapter 4        The Trunk Road to the Brain  65

Chapter 5        The Mythical Metaman  89


Part Two        The Elephant Eater

Chapter 6        Abstraction Works Only in a Perfect World  109

Chapter 7        Evolution of the Elephant Eater  133

Chapter 8        Brownfield Development  143

Chapter 9        Inside the Elephant Eater  165

Chapter 10      Elephant Eater at Work  203


Index  215