What is software maintenance?

It is easy to think that software development ends once a product is completed and launched, but this isn’t the case. The software development lifecycle also critically includes the process of software maintenance, by which a system is maintained, analysed, updated, optimised, and kept up to scratch by a software development company.

Often in a separate team known as managed services, software development companies (or the good ones, at least) make sure that a product they have built and launched stays true to client needs as time goes along. The work isn’t done once the product is handed over, it continues into the future. 

In this blog, we will discuss a little more about software maintenance and why it is important in the field of software development. 

Why is it important?

Software is a living, breathing thing. It is not a static product that is completed as soon as it has been built, it continues to need care and maintenance throughout its lifetime. 

Software lives in the real world and this means that it needs updating and upgrading to stay in touch with that ever-changing, ever-moving real world. Many companies rely on their software development company to ensure that the software solution they have built continues to be relevant and useful for themselves and their clients throughout the years of its use. Outdated and defunct features are often removed or rethought entirely in a process of software maintenance. 

Secondly, there also will be bugs, errors, and user issues that occur throughout a software’s lifetime. In fact, it would be unusual if they weren’t. Software maintenance ensures that these bugs don’t continue unchecked and wreak havoc on software users, especially if these issues are in the realm of security. 

Thirdly, good software needs to scale as the company around it does too. Software maintenance can help companies scale their digital programmes as they grow and change. Our software can’t stay stuck as we move forward, this would make our once-loved products and systems useless. And we can’t have that.

Types of software maintenance

There are four different types of software maintenance that a software development company may engage in, these include:

  • Corrective 
  • Preventative
  • Perfective 
  • Adaptive 

High-quality maintenance of software can’t only rely on dealing with issues as and when they arise, such as in correct maintenance. There needs to be a multi-faceted approach that includes all four elements of maintenance practices to ensure that a piece of software works well, is optimised for its target audience, fits the current market, and can deal with any future problems that come its way. 

Maintenance is by no means an easy process and as such, it isn’t always cheap either. However, for software that really and truly works, it is essential. No allocating budget for software maintenance can be a recipe for disaster. This is why it is all the more important that you choose the correct software development company for any project you have. Only a company that fully and appropriately engages in software development will help take your business to where it needs to be. 

Steps of software maintenance 

Software maintenance is a structured approach and the process typically includes the following seven steps:

Identification & tracing: This is the process in which the team will figure out where any problems lie within the software. Often reports are user-generated and often it is up to the development company to find any problems themselves. 

Analysis: In the analysis step, planning of the practicality and feasibility of any planned activity takes place. For any change or modification to be made, there needs to be a justification of how and why this will work.

Design: Once we know what we are doing and why then we can work on drawing up requirement specifications and design exactly how this process will take place. 

Implementation: Now codes are built, specifications are added, and new work is implemented to the existing system.

System testing: Before the software can be relaunched to the public or intended user group, it needs to be retested. This stage ensures that what has been fixed or added is fully ready to go and optimised before it is used.

Acceptance testing: In the acceptance testing phase, feedback is handed over to third-party users. Here, users can confirm or deny whether the changes made have worked and been worthwhile. This is somewhat of a test run and is the final confirmation that an update is ready to be launched.

Delivery: It is at this final stage that the changes, upgrades, and updates will be received by the original users of the product or platform.

Digital Transformation

Wrapping up

Software maintenance is a carefully tended-to process by which a software development team fix, upgrade, and maintain a piece of software they have created. It is a process by which the software is ensured to be of the highest possible quality for the users that it serves, and it is a continual process after the initial launch of a product. 

Software is a live thing and it needs to be treated as such with continuous checking-in processes. If we leave it alone, it will rust and rot. If we tend to it as we should, it will flourish for years to come. 

The latter option is what we like to see.

6B: a software name you can trust 

At 6B, we take care of your software needs from start to finish. From initial planning to future maintenance, we are with you every step of the way.

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