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The Difference between Software Development & Software Maintenance

Software Development and Software Maintenance: What’s the Difference?

Can you tell me what the difference is between software development and software maintenance? If you feel a little rusty on what makes them different, read this post by Bob Anderson on his blog. In short, software maintenance is essentially providing a service, whereas software development is concerned with the development of products.

In order to provide high-quality software maintenance, different and additional processes are needed than provided by a high-quality software development organization.

Services are produced and consumed simultaneously, whereas for products production and consumption can be separated. For example, a car can be produced first, sold a few months later, and then be consumed over a period of several years. For services the production and consumption has to take place in parallel.

Software maintenance is defined as (IEEE, 1990): “The process of modifying a software system or component after delivery to correct faults, improve performance or other attributes, or adapt to a changed environment”.

It is important that maintenance commitments be planned and documented. This works best if the maintenance organization and customer work together towards the specification of relevant and realistic maintenance service commitments (often called Service Level Agreement—SLA), based on the needs of the customer.

Examples of these conditions could be a customer who needs to use a certain document for change requests, or a required input when requesting a bug fix from the maintenance department.

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About Matthew Kabik

Matthew Kabik is the former Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success. He worked at Computer Aid, Inc. from 2008 to 2014 in the Harrisburg offices, where he was a copywriter, swordsman, social media consultant, and trainer before moving into editorial.

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