SAD-Software Maintenance

Maintenance is the aim of system development. It holds the software industry captive, tying up of programming resources. Analysts and programmers spend far more time maintaining programs than they do writing them. Maintenance accounts for 50-80 percent of total system development.

Maintenance or Enhancement:

Maintenance can be classified as corrective, adaptive, or perfective. Corrective maintenance means repairing processing or performance failures or making changes because of previously uncorrected problems or false assumptions. Adaptive maintenance means changing the program function. Perfective maintenance means enhancing the performance or modifying the programs to respond to the user’s additional or changing needs. Of these types, more time and money are spent on perfective than on corrective and adaptive maintenance together.

Primary activities of a Maintenance Procedure:

Maintenance activities begin where conversion leaves off. Maintenance is handled by the same planning and control used in a formal system project. Documentation is as much a part of maintenance as it is of system development. The maintenance staff receives a request for service from an authorized user, followed by a definition of the required modifications. The source program and written procedures for the system are acquired from the programming library. Program changes are then tested and submitted to the user for approval. Once approved, the modified documentation is filed with the library and a project completion notice is sent to the user, signaling the termination of the project.

Reducing Maintenance Costs:

Several MIS organizations have done a maintenance plan which consists of the following phases
1. Maintenance management audit, which through interviews and questionnaires evaluates the quality of the maintenance effort. Some of the questions asked are :
  • Are maintenance requests logged in a maintenance request log?
  • What percent of total hours worked are spent on error corrections, additions/changes/deletions and improvements?
  • Does your organization currently have a well defined maintenance reduction program?

2. Software system audit, which consist of
  • An overall view of the system documentation and an assessment of the quality of data files and data bases and system maintainability, reliability and efficiency.
  • Functional information gathered on all the programs in the system to determine how well they do the job. Each program is assigned a prelimary ranking value
  • A detailed program audit, which considers the ranking value, mean time between failure(MTBF) and size of maintenance backlog. MTBF determines system availability to users
3. Software modification which consists of three steps
  • Program rewrites, which include logic simplification, documentation updates, and error correction.
  • System level update – which completes system level documentation, brings up to date data flow diagrams or system flowcharts, and cross-reference programs
  • Re audit of low-ranking programs to make sure that the errors have been corrected.
The outcome of such a maintenance reduction plan is more reliable software, a reduced maintenance backlog, improved response times in correcting errors, improved user satisfaction and higher morale among the maintenance staff.
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