Software Maintenance Services
Software maintenance is the modification of a software product after delivery to correct faults, to improve performance.
A general perception about maintenance is that it involves fixing defects. However, one study indicated that the majority, over 80%, of the maintenance effort is used for non-corrective actions. This perception is perpetuated by users submitting problem reports that in reality are functionality enhancements to the system. More recent studies put the bug-fixing proportion closer to 21%.
The key software maintenance issues are both managerial and technical. Key management issues are: alignment with customer priorities, staffing, which organization does maintenance, estimating costs. Key technical issues are: limited understanding, analysis, testing and maintainability measurement.
Software maintenance is a very broad activity that includes error correction, enhancements of capabilities, deletion of obsolete capabilities, and optimization. Because change is inevitable, mechanisms must be developed for evaluation, controlling and making modifications.
So any work done to change the software after it is in operation is considered to be maintenance work. The purpose is to preserve the value of software over the time. The value can be enhanced by expanding the customer base, meeting additional requirements, becoming easier to use, more efficient and employing newer technology. Maintenance may span for 20 years, whereas development may be 1-2 year.
Software maintenance Processes
This section describes the six software maintenance processes as:
· The implementation processes contains software preparation and transition activities, such as the conception and creation of the maintenance plan, the preparation for handling problems identified during development, and the follow-up on product configuration management.
· The problem and modification analysis process, which is executed once the application has become the responsibility of the maintenance group. The maintenance programmer must analyze each request, confirm it (by reproducing the situation) and check its validity, investigate it and propose a solution, document the request and the solution proposal, and, finally, obtain all the required authorizations to apply the modifications.
· The process considering the implementation of the modification itself.
· The process acceptance of the modification, by confirming the modified work with the individual who submitted the request in order to make sure the modification provided a solution.
· The migration process (platform migration, for example) is exceptional, and is not part of daily maintenance tasks. If the software must be ported to another platform without any change in functionality, this process will be used and a maintenance project team is likely to be assigned to this task.
· Finally, the last maintenance process, also an event which does not occur on a daily basis, is the retirement of a piece of software.
Importance of software maintenance
Maintenance activities are categorized into four classes.
- Adaptive – modifying the system to cope with changes in the software environment
- Perfective – implementing new or changed user requirements which concern functional enhancements to the software
- Corrective – diagnosing and fixing errors, possibly ones found by users.
- Preventive – increasing software maintainability or reliability to prevent problems in the future.