A software maintenance method based on the software configuration management discipline
Software maintenance has until recently been the neglected phase in the software engineering process, despite the fact that maintenance of existing software systems may account for over half of all efforts expended by a software organization. Research into software maintenance, compared to other phases of the software engineering process is rare. Moreover, it is widely accepted that current software maintenance methods and techniques are unable to cope with the complexity inherent in maintaining software systems. This thesis is concerned with the development of a method, named Configuration Management Formalization for Maintenance (COMFORM), designed for the maintenance of existing software systems. COMFORM provides guidelines and procedures for carrying out a variety of activities performed during software maintenance. It accommodates a change control framework, around which the Software Configuration Management discipline is applied. Redocumentation is another problem tackled by COMFORM, which gathers together the documentation necessary to improve the maintainability and quality of existing software systems. This is achieved by the use of forms representing the output of each phase of a proposed software maintenance model. The information obtained by filling in forms is formalized according to a data model, which provides a common basis for the representation of the method's functionality. Finally, a prototype of COMFORM has been implemented, so that the procedures and guidelines set up by the method can be enforced and followed by its users.