Understanding and Predicting the Process of Software Maintenance Releases

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One of the major concerns of any maintenance organization is how to estimate the cost of subsequent releases of software systems. Planning the next release, maximizing the increase in functionality and improving the quality are vital to successful maintenance management. The objective of this paper is to present the results of a case study in which an incremental and inductive approach was used to build a model for predicting software maintenance releases in a large-scale software maintenance organization. This study was conducted in the Flight Dynamics Division (FDD) of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). This organization is representative of many other software maintenance organizations. Over one hundred software systems totalling about 4.5 million lines of code are maintained by this organization. Many of these systems have been maintained for many years and regularly produce new releases. The maintenance costs in this organization have increased considerably over the last few years. This paper shows the predictive model developed for the FDD's software maintenance release process. Lessons learned during the establishment of a measurement-based software maintenance improvement program in this organization are also described and future work is outlined. (Also cross-referenced as UMIACS-TR-95-79)