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App Development
6 minutes read

The Four Types of Software Maintenance

By Jose Gomez
By Jose Gomez
App Development
6 minutes read

Software maintenance is critical to the long-term success and health of your company’s software. Developing websites, apps, or other software typically requires a significant investment of time and money. Without proper software maintenance, your product will fail to deliver a consistent and solid User Experience, and over time, without maintenance, your software will likely fail altogether. 

Unfortunately, too many businesses believe software development ends when the product is deployed. The truth is, once your software product hits the market, there is more work that needs to be done if you want to have any success. Not only do issues arise with even the best-designed software, but there are bound to be user comments and suggestions your company would be wise to heed to make improvements. 

Software maintenance is necessary; there is no way around it. Ensure that your business is accounting for ongoing support and maintenance costs when developing a software development budget. This post will explain the four types of software maintenance and what each type entails. 

What Are the Four Types of Software Maintenance? 

One size does not fit all when it comes to software maintenance. You might be surprised to learn that there are, in fact, four distinct types of maintenance that every software product should receive during its life cycle. Software is not static, it is constantly changing, and as long as software is in use, it needs to be maintained. 

Don’t ignore the maintenance needs of your software product. The four types of software maintenance your organization should be aware of are:

  • Corrective
  • Adaptive 
  • Preventative 
  • Perfective

Corrective 

Corrective software maintenance identifies errors, bugs, and faults and takes the necessary steps to correct them. Bugs and other errors are inevitable in any software product. Corrective maintenance is required to ensure that these bugs and errors are addressed before they affect the User Experience, logic of the software, cause a security vulnerability, or negatively impact the software product. 

Corrective software maintenance is often the one type of maintenance that comes to mind when companies plan for the future of their software post-deployment. However, it is essential to understand that corrective maintenance is reactive. Troubleshooting does not begin until a user or an in-house tester reports an issue. 

Generally speaking, corrective maintenance is easy and done quickly. Often, it addresses minor issues like connectivity issues or login failures. As a result, corrective software maintenance rarely affects the software’s performance and is usually not noticed by users. However, in some cases, corrective maintenance can alter a process users are familiar with and draw adverse reactions. 

Don’t wait for user reports to find all bugs. Your company should also be proactive and employ QA testers to look for bugs and other errors before users see them and report them. 

Adaptive 

Adaptive software maintenance handles the shifting technological landscape and ensures that your software product is up to date with the latest technologies, versions, libraries, etc. Almost every software comprises a tech stack that utilizes third-party technologies. Therefore, changes and updates to these technologies are inevitable. 

When libraries, plugins, and other third-party technologies being used in your software receive an update, you’ll need to take the steps necessary to update them. In addition, there are always operating system updates and cloud and hardware dependencies that will also be updated regularly. Therefore, adaptive maintenance needs to be part of your company’s software maintenance plan to avoid outdated software. 

Adaptive maintenance is often done in tandem with corrective maintenance. As a result, you might find that making updates solves some of the bugs or other errors you found. Unfortunately, adaptive software maintenance is often overlooked because it doesn’t have a direct and immediate impact on users. However, this is a foolish way to view adaptive maintenance because updates to software, operating systems, etc., often improve your software product’s function and features. 

Perform adaptive maintenance to ensure your app or software doesn’t become outdated and irrelevant to users. 

Preventative 

Preventative software maintenance looks for issues in the software and resolves them before they can become issues. Preventative maintenance is proactive. Often preventative software maintenance is scheduled in advance and done regularly. This type of maintenance aims to find and address latent faults in the code before they can lead to operational errors. 

Preventative maintenance might sound a lot like corrective maintenance, and they are similar. However, corrective maintenance addresses operational issues as they are found, while preventative maintenance seeks to find and resolve problems before they manifest as operational errors. Preventative software maintenance helps future-proof your application and strives to make it more scalable and efficient. 

As we said earlier, preventative maintenance is typically scheduled in advance, and users are often notified because this type of maintenance can affect the performance of the software depending on the part of the system being worked on. Therefore, if you are going to perform preventative software maintenance, be sure to inform your users so they don’t complete any critical transactions during the maintenance period. 

Preventative maintenance is essential for scalability and future operational capacity. So don’t overlook this critical software maintenance type. 

Perfective 

Perfective software maintenance deals with improving a software product’s current features and functionality. An application is perfected through the refinement, addition, or deletion of features. The entire goal of perfective maintenance is to improve the quality of the software. 

Unsurprisingly, perfective software maintenance is the most visible from an end-user perspective. However, users might not respond positively to changes to the design, interface, or certain features and functions. Therefore, it is vital to communicate with users when significant changes to their experience will occur. The last thing you want to do is alienate your current users. 

Perfective maintenance is essential for the future success of your software, but you shouldn’t rush into it. Instead, take time to understand how your users feel about their experiences and make adjustments based on reliable data and user feedback. 

Final Thoughts 

Software maintenance is essential to the longevity of your software. Maintenance is an integral part of the development process, not a separate task. Remember, software development never truly ends. If you need help understanding what software maintenance is best for your software right now, reach out to an experienced app development partner. All four types of software maintenance are essential and will play a critical role in the success of your software.

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