YOW! 2023: Cat Quinn’s fresh take on legacy systems.


Ryan Lynch·Director & Principal ·November 2, 2023

I had a fantastic experience at Melbourne’s YOW! Tech Leaders Summit in July this year.

And you know how these conferences can be — some talks really stick with you. So, let me tell you about this one presentation I keep thinking about.

Catherine Quinn, MYOB’s brilliant Platform Lead – Delivery, took the stage to encourage IT teams/managers to adopt a fresh perspective on legacy systems, or as Cat coins them, “Heritage Listed” systems. It’s an ingenious new way of looking after old (and often neglected) tech. 

Delivered with a dry sense of humour and just the right amount of jokes, here’s what Cat expertly laid out:

🐘 Legacy systems – the elephants in the room?

You might have dealt with them. Those bulky, old systems everyone avoids touching. Cat highlighted the dangers of letting these behemoths go unchecked. Spoiler: it’s not pretty.

💣 Changing the name of the game

Here’s where she dropped a perspective bomb. What if we stopped calling them “legacy” and started seeing them as “heritage listed”? It’s like renaming that old, sturdy family heirloom that has its quirks but has been around forever and has loads of stories to tell.

🧭 Navigating the legacy landscape

This part felt like an essential guide. Cat didn’t just list techniques; she painted a detailed map of how to modernise and maintain “heritage listed” systems while respecting their original framework and value. 

🌤️ The silver lining

Cat left us with this thought: these systems are treasure troves. Managed right, they’re not just relics but resources packed with lessons.

Ultimately, this presentation was a timely reminder that in our fast-paced tech world, the oldies might just be the goodies we need.

Big shoutout to Cat for letting me rave about her talk here. And if you’d like to check out her presentation from the YOW! Tech Leaders Summit, ‘The Pain of Working with Legacy, and Strategies to Make It Easier’, here it is.