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Software Maintenance

The term ‘software maintenance’ denotes any changes made to a software product after if has been delivered to the customer. According to “Software maintenance can be defined as a set of activates undertaken on a software system following its release for operational use.”

The maintenance phase of software life cycle is the time period in which a software product performs useful task. Typically, the development cycle for a software product spans our one or two years, while the maintenance phase spans for five to ten years.

Software maintenance is a very broad activity that includes error corrections, enhancements of capabilities, detection of obsolete capability, and optimization. Because changes is inevitable, mechanisms, must be developed for evaluating, controlling and making modifications.

It should be observed that software maintenance is an integral part of the software development cycle. Enhancement and adoption of software reinitiates development in the analysis phase, while correction of software problem may reinitiate the development cycle in the analysis phase, the design phase, or the implementation phase. Thus, all of the tools and techniques used to develop software are potentially useful for software maintenance.

Analysis activities during software maintenance involve understanding the scope and effort of a desired change, as well as the constraints on making the change. Design during maintenance involves redesigning the product to incorporate the desired changes. The changes must them be implemented, internal documentation of the code must be updated, and the new test cases must be designed to assess the adequacy of the modification. Also, the supporting documents (requirements, design specifications, test plans, principles of operations, user’s manual, cross-references, directories, etc.) must be updated to reflect the changes. updated versions of the software (code and supporting documents) must then be distributed to various customer sites, and configuration control records for each site must be updated.

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