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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. [ IEEE 610.12, ISO/IEC/IEEE 24765 ]

Other Definitions

Software Maintenance [ ISO/IEC 14764
The totality of activities required to provide cost-effective support to a software system.


  • Maintenance activities include [1]:
    • Perfective maintenance - Changes which improve the system in some way without changing its functionality;
    • Adaptive maintenance - Maintenance which is required because of changes in the environment of a program;
    • Corrective maintenance - The correction of previously undiscovered system errors.
  • Maintainability is defined as the effort to perform maintenance tasks, the impact domain of the maintenance actions, and the error rate caused by those actions. [2]
  • Pre-delivery activities include planning for post-delivery operations, supportability, and logistics determination. Post-delivery activities include software modification, training, and operating a help desk. [ ISO/IEC/IEEE 24765 ]

See also




  1. Ian Sommerville, Software Engineering. Addison-Wesley, 1996.
  2. Harry M. Sneed & Agnes Kaposi. A study on the effect of reengineering on maintainability. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Software Maintenance 1990, pages 91-99. IEEE, Computer Society Press 1990.
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