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What is Software Maintenance? 6 Ways to Achieve Effective Software Maintenance

19/06/2024

6 Ways to Achieve Effective Software Maintenance

 

What is Software Maintenance?

 

Many people think developing software and deploying it on the hardware is the end of the SDLC (Software Development Lifecycle).  But just like the world experiences constant change the software field faces change. There may be bugs in the delivered software overlooked by the testers. They need to be fixed. Otherwise, the software will not work properly. There may be performance issues with the software. Or the software crashes when subjected to load. The programming logic may have inadvertently missed certain real-world scenarios. Some features may have become obsolete. The software may need to be scaled up or down. New features may be required by the users. Some uses may want some features removed. Legacy software may need to be migrated to state-of-the-art hardware. The software may need to adapt to different business and technological developments.

 

Software maintenance is in itself a major field. It is as important as software development. If you want to retain the quality, reliability and relevance of deployed software please take software maintenance seriously. Many software companies have a dedicated software maintenance department. When you purchase software ask about the after sales support and maintenance provided by the vendor. For your information software maintenance takes up as much or more resources when compared with the prominent activity of software development. 

 

We take a look at the ways to achieve effective software maintenance

 

  1. Hire only those Employees who are Passionate about Software MaintenanceMany employees are in the software maintenance department because of the salary or because they have no choice. It is better to hire folk who love doing software maintenance. The results will be better both in the short term and long term. The keywords are passion and willingness to learn as well as adapt.
  2. Have a Uniform Process for Fresh Software ReleasesThere should be consistency on installation of new software releases on all the hardware the software runs on. It is imperative to properly organise the software release process so that the help desk and maintenance department are not overburdened. Ensure that different hardware runs the same release of the software. There should not be different releases in circulation.
  3. Don’t Skip Any Kind of Software TestingWhen there is a deadline looming, some software development teams make the mistake of skipping some software testing or not doing the testing properly. Early testing either eliminates errors or prevents them from becoming bigger or unmanageable. It is preferable to do automated testing than manual testing. The adage ‘Prevention is Superior to Cure’ holds true in this common scenario.
  4. Retire Software that Yield Little or No ValueSome software is obsolete because of market changes and/or use of old technology. It doesn’t make financial sense to maintain such software. You are better off getting rid of such software and investing in new software that provides optimum value. The first step is to determine how much value the existing software is giving and whether it will continue to do so in the future. Secondly, ask yourself whether modifying the software is better than adopting new software. Then you can make an informed decision.
  5. Brainstorm with your Help DeskCustomers approach the help desk with queries and any issues they are facing with their software. So, the desk staff knows what problems are faced with the software. Communicating with the help desk helps gain insights into what problems are there in the software. You can either fix the problems or replace the software. The knowledge gained by the help desk helps the development team not to make the same mistakes in future software releases. A good idea is to create a questionnaire regarding the software performance and send copies to the users. You will get valuable feedback which will improve the quality and response time of relevant software maintenance activities.  
  6. Adopt the CloudCloud providers have the best manpower and tools to help maintain software. They have the necessary expertise and experience to meet all types of challenges. Whether it is fixing a bug, upgrading the software or ensuring optimum performance they do it quickly, effectively and efficiently. They have the financial resources to deliver quality as well as satisfactory software maintenance services to their valued customers. Also, maintenance is one of their core competencies. As professionals they deliver better results compared to conventional software companies.

 

Types of Software Maintenance

 

There are 4 major types of software maintenance. We take a look at them.

  • Preventive Maintenance

Here you make changes to the software in order to prevent future issues. Steps taken include updation of the existing documentation, optimization of the code as well as restructuring of the source code. Additionally, it focuses on efficiently using storage and enabling faster execution of the software.

  • Corrective Maintenance

Here software bugs are identified and errors are corrected. A variety of diagnosing activities are carried out. Many people assume this is the only type of maintenance activity but in reality, it is not so. Recently there is more awareness about the significance of maintenance and the fact that there is more to software maintenance than just bug fixing. Corrective maintenance focuses on flaws that have the risk of adversely affecting the regular functioning of the relevant software. The flaws may be present in the source code, software design or programming logic. Many times, deployed software doesn’t deliver expected business functionality. This is because of miscommunication during the requirements analysis stage. 

  • Perfective Maintenance

This type of maintenance activity aims to enhance the quality of the software. Speed, performance, functionality and user friendliness can be improved in a planned and systematic process. Better software technologies and algorithms can be implemented. The navigation can be made easier. Also, the user interface can be made more intuitive and attractive. Data retrieval can be made simpler, more convenient and faster. The E-commerce functionality can be improved. All these enhancement activities don’t aim at simply fixing errors but rather to offer better quality software to users.

  • Adaptive Maintenance

This type of maintenance activity aims at ensuring the relevant software is in line with the changing technology and business requirements. Hardware and databases may change. There may be new cyber threats which the software is not equipped to deal with. As such new security features have to be incorporated in the software. The software has to be made compatible in case the operating system is changed. If laws and policies change the software has to be modified to be compliant with them.

 

 

How to Ensure Successful Software Maintenance

 

 

Have a software maintenance team consisting of the developers who wrote the source code and outsiders. The advantage of developers is that they are familiar with the code and what each module does. As such they are able to change the code far faster than a newcomer. The advantage of outsiders is they each come with a fresh pair of eyes. They are not saturated with coding and have more energy. You will find that they will spot errors overlooked by the developers.

 

One tip to improve the quality of maintenance is to have up-to-date and quality documentation. The software documentation should explain in detail what each line of code does, future challenges and the best way to fix problems if they arise. Testing should be done early in the development stage itself to improve the quality of the software and make it virtually bug free. Don’t try to save money in software development by using inexpensive or old technology. You may end up spending more ultimately if the software technology becomes obsolete or the software performance is poor. 

 

Have a detailed maintenance process in place. Circulate copies of the document to everybody involved in the software project. Solicit suggestions and ask each individual whether there are any shortcomings in the process. Once the process is finalised, follow it meticulously for all the software development projects you do.

 

Conclusion

 

You have the option to have an in-house team for software maintenance.  Alternatively, you could hire the services of a quality company specialising in software maintenance services. Ideally, they should understand both the business and technological aspect of the software you wish to maintain. They should have the right testing tools and implement best practices. Sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to protect the confidentiality of your business and technological processes incorporated into your software. Have an SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place which stipulates how quickly they resolve the maintenance issues associated with your software. Arrange a technical team from your end to verify business knowledge and expertise in software maintenance. Initially hire the company for a short period and if you are satisfied with the quality of their services, you can work out a long-term commitment. 

 

About Us

 

Focaloid is a stellar software development products and services company catering to clients in the US & UK. We have the necessary expertise and experience in a variety of software maintenance services. Focaloid has a dynamic team of talented and seasoned professionals in various domains and technologies. Over time we have established a mature outsourcing model which is productive, efficient as well as effective. You can safely rely on us to deliver outstanding software solutions and services within stipulated deadlines. Contact us at the earliest to know how we can help you. We are committed to superior client satisfaction and mutual growth.

 

Published:19/06/2024

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