Software conflict 2.0

Posted on September 16, 2010 | Author: Robert Glass | View 672 | Comment : 5

Is software maintenance a problem? Today's standard answer is, “You bet it is.” The standard rationale for that standard answer is, “Look how much of our budget we're putting into software maintenance. If we'd only built the software better in the first place, we wouldn't have to waste all that money on maintenance.”

Well, I want to take the position that this standard answer is wrong. It's wrong, I want to say, because the standard rationale is wrong. The fact of the matter is, software maintenance isn't a problem, it's a solution!
What we are missing in the traditional view of software as a problem is the special significance of two pieces of information: The software product is “soft” (easily changed) compared to other, “harder,” disciplines.
Software maintenance is far less devoted to fixing errors (17%) than to making improvements (60%).In other words, software maintenance is a solution instead of a problem because in software maintenance we can do something that no one else can do as well, and because when we do it we are usually building new solutions, not just painting over old problems.

If software maintenance is seen as a solution and not as a problem, does that give us some new insight into how to do maintenance better? I take the position that it indeed does.... And the emphasis, when we do it, should be on maximising effectiveness, and not on minimising cost.

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Comments (5)

  • "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder" is relevant here. The categorization will change depending how deep into the metaphorical hole has one dug oneself into. The generalized statistics are definitely an interesting read. However, for every statistic presented here, an equally powerful and contrasting statistic can be created with a focus on just the right sample space.

    The real issue at hand are twofold. First, the terminology used here - "maintenance" as against "enhancement". Second, the actual resources one is willing to expend to have the needed change in the software. An abstract opinion on whether it is a "problem" or a "solution" is not relevant. Usually the size of the software and amount of changes along with the number of engineers available with relevant ...See More

    Posted by Madhukar Bhat,Project Leader, Release Engg at Oracle Private Limited|17 Sep, 2010

  • Well, software maintenance is a problem very big problem for the software occupiers, should it through into the dustbin at once. Maintenance of human body is rather.. rather.. more rather expensive and associated with complications. Should we through it out ? 'Problem' is this word has a proper definition ? it varies man to man, efficiency to efficiency, proficiency to proficiency. So, if something is likely to be persist as a problem to you then there is a problem with you only. That may be of the deficiency of your education, your knowledge, your skills, your efficiency, your experience, your attitude, your mental and physical fitness, your financial stability etc. etc. So, don't look it as a problem of software, accuse and analyze yourself where is the problem with you.

    Posted by Umasankar , Senior software Engineed at Compusoft Technology - Delhi | 17 Sep, 2010

  • Maintenance word itself suggests that its a solution. Maintaining can never be a problem. You can definitely maintain a software and remove the problems. Its different how you maintain.

    Posted by Adesh Sharma,Software Developer at TIU consulting LLC Ohio USA|16 Sep, 2010

  • Is Microsoft Windows Operating system is bug free?
    If you see any version of O.S which high talented professionals developed has 2 bugs for every 1000 lines of code.So maintenance is necessary to fix such bugs. I do not thing any software product is bug free.

    Posted by Vinod Takarkhede , Director at Broadband Technology Services | 16 Sep, 2010

  • We cannot stop software maintenance , whenever any bugs were reported by client then maintenance has to be done to resolve that bug. Even software giant has bugs which undergoes changes and released with a number to resolve the bugs which were reported. Hence it will continue to be there as along as software exists. No one can dispense with it.

    Posted by Ramesh Iyer | 16 Sep, 2010

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