Cost and efforts of software maintenance
Software Maintenance is a very broad activity that takes place once the operation is done. It optimizes the software performance by reducing errors, eliminating useless lines of codes and applying advanced development. It can take up to 1-2 years to build a software system while its maintenance and modification can be an ongoing activity for 15-20 years.
The cost and effort of software maintenance can vary depending on the type of maintenance being performed and the complexity of the software system. In general, software maintenance can be a significant cost for organizations, as it typically involves a combination of labor, hardware, and software costs.
The cost of software maintenance can include:
- Labor costs: This includes the cost of the personnel who perform the maintenance, such as software developers, engineers, and technicians.
Hardware and software costs: This includes the cost of hardware and software tools used for maintenance, such as servers, software licenses, and development tools.
Training costs: This includes the cost of training personnel to perform maintenance tasks, such as software developers, engineers, and technicians.
The effort of software maintenance can include:
- Time and resources: This includes the time and resources required to perform the maintenance, such as the time required to identify and fix the problem, test the solution, and implement the solution.
Communication and coordination: This includes the effort required to communicate and coordinate with stakeholders, such as customers and other teams.
Testing and validation: This includes the effort required to test and validate the solution to ensure that it is working correctly and that it does not cause any new problems.
The cost and effort of software maintenance can be reduced by:
- Adopting a proactive maintenance strategy that includes regular testing, monitoring, and updating of the system to prevent problems from occurring
Automating repetitive and routine tasks
Using modern development methodologies such as Agile, DevOps and Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
Using tools and technologies that can help to improve the efficiency of maintenance tasks, such as automated testing tools and configuration management tools
Having a clear and well-defined maintenance plan that includes regular maintenance activities, such as testing, backup, and bug fixing.
It’s important to note that software maintenance is an ongoing process, and the cost and effort of maintenance will vary over time as the system evolves and new requirements are added.
Categories of Software Maintenance:
- Corrective Maintenance
- Adaptive Maintenance
- Perfective Maintenance
- Preventive Maintenance
The cost of system maintenance represents a large proportion of the budget of most organizations that use software system. More than 65% of software lifecycle cost is expanded in the maintenance activities.
Cost of software maintenance can be controlled by postponing the. development opportunity of software maintenance but this will cause the following intangible cost:
- Customer dissatisfaction when requests for repair or modification cannot be addressed in a timely manner.
- Reduction in overall software quality as a result of changes that introduce hidden errors in maintained software.
Software maintenance cost factors:
The key factors that distinguish development and maintenance and which lead to higher maintenance cost are divided into two subcategories:
- Non-Technical factors
- Technical factors
- Complexity of the software system: The more complex the software system, the more effort and resources will be required to maintain it.
- Size of the software system: The larger the software system, the more effort and resources will be required to maintain it.
- Number of users: The more users a software system has, the more effort and resources will be required to maintain it.
- Change rate of the software system: The more frequently the software system changes, the more effort and resources will be required to maintain it.
- Availability of personnel: The availability of personnel with the necessary skills and experience to maintain the software system can affect the cost of maintenance.
- Tools and technologies: The cost of maintenance can be affected by the tools and technologies used to maintain the software system, such as automated testing tools and configuration management tools.
- Maintenance plan: Having a clear and well-defined maintenance plan can help to reduce the cost of maintenance by allowing for more efficient use of resources.
- Age of the software system: Older systems may require more effort to maintain as the technology may be outdated.
- Type of maintenance: The type of maintenance being performed can also affect the cost, for example, corrective maintenance is typically less expensive than perfective maintenance.
- Location: The cost of maintenance can be affected by the location of the system and the cost of labor in that area.
The Non-Technical factors include:
- Application Domain
- Staff stability
- Program lifetime
- Dependence on External Environment
- Hardware stability
Technical factors include the following:
- module independence
- Programming language
- Programming style
- Program validation and testing
- Configuration management techniques
Efforts expanded on maintenance may be divided into productivity activities (for example analysis and evaluation, design and modification, coding). The following expression provides a module of maintenance efforts:
M = P + Ke(C - D)
M: Total effort expanded on the maintenance.
P: Productive effort.
K: An empirical constant.
C: A measure of complexity that can be attributed to a lack of good design and documentation.
D: A measure of the degree of familiarity with the software.