Why Software Maintenance is the Unsung Hero of Your Tech Stack

Jul 11, 2024 | Portfolio Governance Why Software Maintenance is the Unsung Hero of Your Tech Stack

Once software is live, ensuring it runs smoothly and efficiently becomes a top priority. A dedicated maintenance team—whether the original developers or an expert support group—steps in to handle fixes, performance enhancements, and essential upgrades. The software is continually adapted and evolved to meet user demands seamlessly.

Software maintenance is an indispensable part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) and covers the period from the release of the software into production to its final disposal. The maintenance phase is often much longer than the development phase. Making the best use of maintenance teams is critical to saving resources and ensuring user satisfaction.

The use of CAST Highlight

CAST Highlight is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) for application portfolio analysis.

This solution is designed to be fast, intuitive and easy to use. It analyzes custom enterprise applications and provides a status assessment, generating metrics on software risk, complexity, size, and other key indicators, including Software Maintenance Estimates.

Highlight Software Maintenance Estimates

Software Maintenance Estimates is based on the COCOMO II (Constructive Cost Model - Post Architecture) model and is expressed in FTE (Full-Time Equivalent).

This indicator is calculated based on:

  • Software Maintenance Surveys, provided by the softwareadministrator, containing information that provides specifics about the software the group that maintains it (software business impact, development team skill level, turnover ratio, estimated code base change, etc.)
  • Analysis of software calculated during source code scanning. In this case, software Agility (how easy the softwareis to change), Elegance (how easy the software is to understand) and other indicators are taken into account
  • Other calculation parameters using cost drivers defined in COCOMO II model (for details: Cost Drivers )

    Based on this information, the following indicators are produced:
    - Recorded Software Maintenance, number of FTEs assigned to maintenance.
    - Recommended Software Maintenance, how much is the optimal value estimated by the CAST Highlight

How to interpret these results

The results are presented both at the application portfolio level (i.e., across the entire application fleet as measured by CAST Highlight) and at the individual application level.

At the portfolio level, the Portfolio Advisor graph segments applications by recommended actions, requiring different levels of attention and resources. There are six levels: Invest Resources, Reallocate Resources, Develop Team Skills, Reduce Turnover, Get Deeper Software Intelligence, and Role Models.

These recommendations provide specific guidance on actions to best balance resources within the portfolio and improve team performance.

Views are then provided with the distribution of resources:

With a detail by individual application:

CAST Highlight, based on measured data and based on surveys with software owners, provides accurate indications of the distribution of maintenance resources, identifying where there are excess or deficient resources. This allows for better optimization of resources within the application portfolio and suggests possible actions to improve the performance of the maintenance team.