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Legacy Features: Let Go of the Ball and Chain and Jump

Have you ever been in a meeting and heard, “But how will this fit in with our legacy system?”

Legacy systems can be great. They may be the meat and potatoes of your business. They may pay your bills. They need to be up to date and work like champs.

But in order to let your company enter the wonderful world of creative, innovative design, you have to be willing to jump. And when I say jump, I mean jump away from your legacy product into the unknown. You may jump and land in a pile of cash. You may jump and land in a black hole of product death. (I recommend avoiding that one.)

Regardless of the end result, you need to have that urge to try, and test, and fail, and succeed in order to innovate and create amazing things.

I’m not suggesting that you gut your entire product and rip the rug out from under your customers. Replacing core functionality requires significant research, and major usability testing throughout every stage of the design and Dev process to ensure that the changes you make will improve your users experiences.

That said, you can’t keep such a death grip on every single legacy feature that you become frozen in time. Your product will become irrelevant.

If you keep yourself permanently tethered to every feature in your legacy ball and chain, when you jump, you’re going to swing over the edge and crash into the wall with no chance of reaching the next level of success.

Treat your legacy products with the respect they deserve, but don’t forget to occasionally jump. Because if you don’t jump, your competition will… and they’ll leapfrog right over you on their way down to that pile of cash that could have been yours.

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This post was originally published on

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*Thank you for your comments that lead to clarification of key points in this post.

Written by

UX Blogger ~ Product Designer ~ Sr Mgr of Design Community Partnerships @InVisionApp Opinions are my own ❤ (© 2014–2019 Jennifer Aldrich)

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