Application Maintenance and Support: 5 Best Practices

22 Dec · 5 min read

Application Maintenance and Support: 5 Best Practices

The efficiency of your software application may not mean much to you, however, the success and failure of your business might rely on it. The efficiency of the business creates a huge impact on factors such as customer experience and customer service. So, in this regard, it is very important to have application maintenance as part of your development strategy. You need to constantly update, modify and update the software suite to weed out any faults you might see and create an optimized platform for your app. 

For example, your business has an application that has been deployed on your customer's phones for some time now. You have been providing backend support, however, maintenance is something that you haven’t done in a while. The experience of the customers who have the app will start to dwindle now that the bugs keep on adding up. So, it makes business sense for most businesses to have an application maintenance schedule. In this article, we will look at a few maintenance practices that can be utilized to create a better experience for your customers and a more optimized application.

What is Application Maintenance?

Applications just like any piece of technology are built on different mechanisms and workflows that come together to create functionalities and features. With all of this, you need to have a whole schedule for updates and maintenance, to keep up with the expectations of the customers and the industry in general, to remain competitive among your competition. Thus it becomes critical to have application maintenance for all businesses. 

It is not just about fixing bugs or removing any errors, it is about something much more, rectifying faults, making additional upgrades, looking for security vulnerabilities, and making the performance better. Moreover, it also gives you a better insight into your application and thus gives you a chance to make it significantly more improved over the next versions and iterations. 

5 Best Application Maintenance Practices

To make an efficient software application you have to streamline the process, you need to have a plan, and be consistent in everything that you do. These five practices taken from companies all over the world will help you create a more efficient application. 

1. Preparing and Following a Maintenance Time Table

You need to streamline your processes, you cannot decide to maintain an application on the spot, and you need to have a schedule because you cannot just stop your application that is being used instantaneously. You need to have a maintenance schedule, that too in advance to communicate it to all the users so that there’s no disaster. It not only helps you in catering for the blowback you might receive if not but also streamlines your workflow, you know when you’re going to be doing that maintenance and everything gets planned according to that.

You may want to have different schedules for different things related to your app, the production environment and the non-production environment for example can have their own schedule. The production environment will affect the user experience so you would want to have it at night, however, the non-production environment can be maintained over the not-so-traffic hours in the day as well to curtail risk.   

2. Prioritizing Issue Fixing

You need to have a list of issues that you’d want to fix, this is the first list you should be looking at as soon as a maintenance release is about to start. The issues list is combined over time, you look at user complaints, bugs, or any crashes that might have happened over the time. You know what issues get priority over others, and what is needed to fix all of the stuff. This also helps you prioritize which maintenance patch to release first. 

The key here is to be user-focused. The user should be the center of attention in all of this, you are making the changes for them, they are at the other end of the issues, so you need to keep them in mind. You need to prioritize the issues from their lens, what might be the bigger risk if not fixed, and what might be the biggest impact on user experience these are some of the questions that need to be asked first. When you’ve got a lot to fix and maintain, you must take up issues that relate to users first, and then determine the order of the others.

3. Testing the Maintenance Updates

Once the maintenance part is done this is where things get a little more interesting, you have to do more checks in order to see if what you have done is applicable in the real environment or not. You can easily do that by testing it in a controlled environment. After the controlled test you run the test suite again to check for any updates. This vigorous testing gives you an idea of what might be going on with the process. 

It is advised that all of these tests be performed outside the production environment so that you can have better visibility and tracking of everything that is being done. 

4. Verifying the Testing Results in a Productive Environment

Once you have had the tests in the non-production environment you need to ensure the consistency of the results in a production environment before deploying the update. It requires the same concepts and steps as the previous testing, however, you have to be really careful with this, as it will affect the application directly. You need to separate the maintenance part before, conducting validation tests and then launching the update. 

5. Outsource the Application Maintenance Part to Application Maintenance Company

While you might think you have the capabilities to do application maintenance and you might as well have those capabilities, it is optimal to outsource these application maintenance activities to specialized companies. While doing it on your own gives you control, in a perfect scenario we are not looking for control and just peak performance. You give it to the people who do dozens of application maintenance and are professionals. Then it is their headache to do all of this and you are free of that burden. 

Key Takeaway:

It is advisable for companies to have a good maintenance DNA integrated into their core processes. The company will know the workflows a lot better, be up to date with new technologies that will help maintain the application better, and will help in upgrading the entire technology stack. So, partnering with an outsourcing application maintenance company gives you a competitive edge.

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