A Software Maintenance Team — What does it do? Why is it important?
22.09.2021 | 7 min read
At 10Clouds we pride ourselves on our software maintenance team, which is responsible for everything that happens to a client’s project post-development. But what specifically does their work involve? And what value does it deliver to both the product owner and the end user? We speak to Olga Bełczewska, one of our Service Delivery Managers to find out more.
Let's review some of the theory before we start.
What is software maintenance?
Software maintenance refers to the ongoing process of updating, modifying, and improving software applications after they have been deployed. This process includes bug fixing, code improvements, and software enhancements to ensure the software remains efficient and reliable.
The goal of software maintenance is to keep software up-to-date and in line with user requirements, technology advancements, and changing business needs. Typically, software maintenance involves four phases: corrective maintenance, adaptive maintenance, perfective maintenance, and preventive maintenance.
Corrective maintenance involves fixing errors and bugs that have been discovered.
Adaptive maintenance involves modifying the software to keep it compatible with a changing environment.
Perfective maintenance involves improving or refining the software's functionality.
Preventive maintenance involves identifying potential issues and taking action to prevent them.
Overall, software maintenance is a vital aspect of software development that ensures continuous improvement and longevity of the software.
What does software maintenance team do?
Olga Bełczewska: The Maintenance Team plays a number of different roles. At the most basic level, we watch out for any bugs in a client’s project and fix them as quickly as possible. Even with a high quality software development process, some bugs are unavoidable - the trick is to spot them as quickly as possible.
If a product has recently been launched on the market, there’s nothing worse than a poor user experience caused by a bug in the system. So this is where we come in and make sure that everything is running smoothly.
If the client wants minor changes made to the product post-release, we can implement these relatively quickly without the need to sign a contract. These products are handed over to us from one of our development teams, and as a company, we’re really invested in their success.
We see ourselves as product delivery partners, which means that we’re there with clients at every step of their product journey - from discovery, through to the development of a scalable and effective solution, all the way to maintenance. We also sometimes take care of the maintenance of products that weren’t initially developed by our teams.
What different roles do you have on your team? What are each of these people responsible for?
In our team we have several roles:
Service delivery manager
That’s me. I’m responsible for the whole service delivery on many levels. Internally, I look after things like team building, setting priorities and processes. Externally, I work with clients on preparing contracts, monitoring client satisfaction and I act as a single point of contact in the case of more complex issues. I also set timelines, plans, and budgets.
They are responsible for processing all the tickets entering our Jira Service Desk maintenance queue. They also dispatch tickets and estimate the time that each task is likely to take. We use Jira Service Desk to report bugs from customers, manage them in an appropriate queue and allow for communication within the ticket.
They are the people who work on solving the given tasks. We currently have six people in the team and we are still growing.
They take care of our skilled developers and help them to broaden their skillsets.
Why is having software maintenance team important?
The software maintenance team is crucial for ensuring the smooth functioning of any software system. The team is responsible for the ongoing monitoring, updating and enhancing the software applications to meet the changing needs of the users, fix any bugs or issues and improve the overall performance of the system.
Without it, a software system would become outdated, vulnerable and prone to crashes, which could lead to damage, data loss, security breaches, and potentially huge business losses. By having a maintenance team in place, you can ensure an uninterrupted and optimal functioning of your company's software systems, increase efficiency, flexibility and longevity, and provide better user experiences to your customers.
Therefore, investing in a software maintenance team is not just important but essential for the sustainability and success of any software-driven business.
What value do you deliver to clients?
The maintenance team essentially acts as a backstop, ensuring that the client’s product is working exactly as it should. We like to think of ourselves as stress-relievers - our clients entrust their product to us safe in the knowledge that we will spot any bugs.
They are therefore freed up to focus on higher value tasks, such as thinking about the next step of their product development or scaling. Any software project can rely on that. The maintenance process will also reduce the cost of software development should any major issues occur, as it is well taken care of at all times.
The potential repercussions are then much less harmful to the product and the clients.
If the product is further developed in the future, the client also doesn’t need to worry about accruing additional technical debt, because our team is there to address any updates as and when needed.
We can also work on refactoring and upgrading the solution to get rid of eventual technical debt in the existing solution.
What does a product owner risk by not having a software maintenance team?
Without a maintenance team, the product is essentially left alone after development. So the risk is pretty big. If the product isn’t regularly updated and checked to see whether it’s working on all infrastructure levels, a number of usability issues might creep in.
Also, if there’s a need for any small enhancements required by end users, assembling the team needed to create these might take some time. Importantly, there’s nobody to fix the bugs spotted by users.
Please remember that keeping products up to date in a fast-moving digital world is crucial nowadays, especially from a security perspective.
What is your favorite part of your role?
There are many! But primarily I really enjoy building an incredible team which I can see brings value to our clients. We work so well together, that even when people leave the team to take responsibility in regular projects and grow there, they still want to take part in the maintenance related-tasks.
I’m also very fascinated by the projects that we work on. Lately we had the huge pleasure of maintaining a project in the cryptocurrency wallet sphere. We all learnt such a lot from the experience. We had to quickly get to grips with the solutions that our developers had implemented and then make sure that we keep the product working for its end users.
It was so great to see its gains in the market. I love seeing the impact of our collective work!
The cost of software maintenance
That was all from Olga. Let's have a look at some more facts again.
Software maintenance cost refers to all the expenses that an organization incurs to keep a software product running properly after it has been developed. Software engineering is a constant process, and that's why maintenance costs should be taken into consideration as an integral part of the software development budget.
After the initial development of a software program, you can be almost entirely sure that it will need to undergo maintenance to ensure it remains efficient and reliable. If the existing software runs smoothly at one time, it doesn't mean it will do so forever.
This is the market reality. New software may meet your goals here and now, but even the greatest product will become obsolete if it's not maintained. Software development life cycle can be prolonged, but not without our active help.
By now you know there are various types of software maintenance, including corrective maintenance, adaptive maintenance, perfective maintenance, and preventive maintenance. Reverse engineering is also a part of software maintenance, which involves analyzing a program's code to understand its behavior.
Incorporating new features is also a significant part of software maintenance cost, as it is essential to add functionality to keep up with the changing needs of users. All of these key parts of the development process can be taken care of with 10Clouds Maintenance Team by your side.