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In just the last few years, organizations have to come to realize that software maintenance is an integral part of a software life-cycle. Still when you compare to the other phases, it is yet to receive the same degree of attention. When you look back at the history of the tech industry, software development has had a much higher profile than software maintenance in most organizations and industries alike.
The need for software maintenance
First questions first. Why does one need software maintenance in the first place? Organizations need to ensure that the software continues to satisfy their user's requirements. Any product, be it tangible or intangible, be it online or offline, requires periodic maintenance and that is also applicable to software that is developed using any software life cycle model, be it spiral or linear.
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The nature of these products is that software products change due to corrective and non-corrective software actions.
One must perform maintenance in order to:
improve the design
interface with other software
migrate legacy software; and retire software
adapt programs so that different hardware, software, system features, and telecommunications facilities can be used
Five important characteristics of a software product maintenance & support services:
maintaining control over the software's day-to-day functions;
maintaining control over software modification;
perfecting existing functions;
identifying security threats and fixing security vulnerabilities; and
preventing software performance from degrading to unacceptable levels.
The types of software maintenance
The current types of maintenance have been defined as: corrective, adaptive, perfective, and preventative.
Corrective maintenance: This involves reactive modification or repairs of a software product performed after delivery in order to correct the problems that have been discovered. This category of maintenance can also be used under emergency maintenance, which is an unscheduled modification performed to temporarily keep a software product operational pending corrective maintenance.
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Adaptive maintenance: It is a modification of a software product performed which is performed after the product has been delivered and in order to keep the software product up and running in a changed or changing the environment.
Perfective maintenance: It can be termed as a type of modification to the software product after the delivery which provides enhancements for users, improvement of program documentation, and recoding to improve software performance, maintainability, or other software attributes.
Preventive maintenance: This maintenance involves detecting and correcting latent faults in the software product before they become operational faults, once the product has been delivered.
Software life-cycle process is a set of activities, methods, practices, and transformations used to develop and maintain software and its associated products. One needs to consider each and every step of this entire life-cycle wisely in order to maintain a successful product.
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