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Section 508

July 21st, 2014

The Basics of App Maintenance

What is app maintenance?
Once a newly developed app has been launched, the work does not stop there. In fact it’s only the beginning. Now it’s time to listen to user feedback, track analytics reports and continue to test the service to ensure that the app remains working, up to date and keeps the users engaged.

In most cases post-launch work is divided into maintenance releases and releases with new functionalities although there can also be a combination thereof. These are the 4 types of maintenance where (1) to (3) are usually mandatory and (4) can be substituted with new functionality releases:

  1. Corrective Maintenance: Defects or residual bugs may manifest themselves when the software does not operate as it was designed or advertised to do. This process includes diagnosis and correction of errors.
  2. Preventive Maintenance: It is usually initiated with the intention of making software easier to understand and facilitate future maintenance work. Although it does not usually give rise to a substantial increase in the baseline functionality, it includes activities which change the software to improve future maintainability or reliability, or to provide a better basis for future enhancements.
  3. Adaptive Maintenance: It is driven by the need to accommodate modifications in the environment (new devices, new form factors, new OS, etc.)of the software, without which the software would become increasingly less useful until it becomes obsolete. This process includes activities that modify software to properly interface with a changing environment.
  4. Perfective Maintenance: This is based on the premise that as the software becomes useful, users tend to experiment with new cases beyond the scope for which it was initially developed. This process includes activities for adding new capabilities, modifying existing functions and making general enhancements.

What is our recommendation?
All mobile applications with a life time of more than 3 months must have a maintenance strategy. Maintenance is crucial for the success of the app. If the app has bugs (and lets be clear, there is no bug-free code) or if the app developer doesn’t react to user feedback, the ratings and engagement will go down. There are several ways to tackle this issue, and whether the app is improved through regular releases, which we recommend to be at least bi-monthly, or is done through maintenance, the goal is the same: ensure your app is working, enhance over time and keep users engaged.

 

 

Tags: mobile apps

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