6-Step Process for Software Maintenance

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The six steps of software maintenance are a series of processes that are designed to maintain versioned software. The International Organization for Standards (ISO) classifies this series of steps as ISO-14764. The purpose of the steps is to make the software maintenance cycle repeatable, dependable and efficient.

Step One

  • This first step is the most important step and affects the development of all later steps because it deals with the creation of reports that contain the problems from the previous release. The maintenance plan itself is created during this step, which contains instructions for dealing with problems that were identified during the development cycle.

    This step is a transition step because the information gathered is from the development cycle of the last release and also from issues that came up after the release of the software. Data gained from these processes is then used to map out the upcoming release.

Step Two

  • This is the next set of processes for maintenance planning for the release. A maintenance programmer is responsible for the following:

    • Receiving and analyzing each change request
    • Replicating each issue by duplicating the problem
    • Investigating the reasons for the issue
    • Proposing a solution
    • Documenting the approved solution
    • Obtaining approval to apply the solution

    These steps are repeated for each issue that needs to be resolved.

Step Three

  • Each modification is put through an implementation process that considers the following:

    • Possible effects of the modification on other system features
    • How critical the problem is to the stability of the entire application
    • The priority of the modification

Step Four

  • After making the modification, the original submitter of the issue verifies that the modification made provided a proper and complete solution.

Step Five

  • After steps one through four are completed for all issues designated for the current release, the migration process is implemented. This step occurs when the new code must be moved across platforms (for example, from the QA environment to the Production environment) and still keep its functionality intact. This step does not happen for every issue, but rather all issues tagged for release.

Step Six

  • A previous version of the software is replaced by the new version developed in steps one through five. Step one is now repeated.

The Truth About Maintenance

  • All too often the maintenance process is considered bug fixing. Although this is true for a lot of the issues that make it through the process, very often the maintenance process also includes functionality enhancements found by users outside of the development process.

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