Klaus Breyer Tech Leadership, Product Delivery & Startup Strategy.

Checklist for Analyzing Existing Projects

As a freelance CTO, I regularly deal with completely new projects and codebases. Sometimes I have to dive deep into them, and sometimes I just need to evaluate the structure first. In the following, I would like to share with you my checklist, which I use when starting a new project.


  • Team lead?
  • Team structure?
  • Background of team members
    • Education
    • Professional experience
    • Interesting previous employers


  • Programming language?
  • Backend framework?
  • Frontend framework?
  • Database?
  • Other interesting technologies/frameworks? Worker queues? Elastic Search, Solr?


  • Style guides? PSR?
  • Test coverage of unit tests?
  • Documentation? In the code?
  • Versioning? Git? Branches or messy code?
  • Was code adopted or developed locally?
  • Is third-party code used? If so: What software licenses are included in the code?
  • Package manager?


  • Caching? Memcache? Varnish?
  • Hosting provider?
  • Server location?
  • Load balancer?
  • Load tests?
  • Fault tolerance? Redundant backup server?
  • Backups? Process?
  • CDN?


  • https:// ?
  • Code audits?
  • Have there been any attacks?
  • Is the system multi-tenant capable?
  • How are individual tenants separated from each other?
  • Are data processing agreements signed?
  • ISO standards? 9001?
  • Technical and organizational measures?
  • Further certifications?


  • Is the product a managed service or do customers sign up themselves?
  • Multilingual? Prepared? How many languages implemented?
  • ACL?
  • How expandable is the system?
  • How real-time capable is the system?
  • Cronjobs? Routine tasks?
  • Has any special algorithmic performance been achieved?


  • Frontend workflow? Gulp? Webpack?
  • Fixed release cycles? Weekly deployments?
  • Integration tests?
  • Deployment process? Continuous Integration?
  • Behavior Driven Development?

Feedback on my checklist is explicitly welcome. :)