Continued from page 1
Your development effort may span several months. You may schedule PERFECTIVE maintenance in cycles of one to six months. But, you may require CORRECTIVE maintenance within hours.
Functionally, you can divide documentation maintenance activities into three categories:
PERFECTIVE, ADAPTIVE, and CORRECTIVE.
Let me explain...
"Perfective maintenance" is when you make changes, insertions, deletions, modifications, extensions, and enhancements to improve understandability or maintainability.
You generally do Perfective maintenance because you have new or changing requirements, or you may need to fine-tune documentation.
Fine-tuning is an excellent way to introduce a new writer to your documentation. This will reduce your chance of serious errors later.
Both failures and successes of your documentation require Perfective maintenance. If your documentation works well, users want more features; if your documentation works poorly, you must fix it.
When you perform Perfective maintenance on poorly written documentation, you can dramatically reduce resource requirements by making your documentation more maintainable.
"Adaptive Maintenance" is when you adapt documentation to changes in user environment. Environmental changes are normally beyond control of writer and consist mainly of changes to:
Rules, laws, and regulations that affect documentation. Typically you must quickly make these changes to meet dates established by rules and regulations.
Equipment configurations, such as, new computers, new terminals, local printers, etc. Usually, you want to take advantage of improved features and/or pricing. You normally perform this maintenance on a scheduled basis.
Data formats, file structures, etc. You may require extensive maintenance if these items were not properly designed and implemented. If you can isolate changes to specific modules, maintenance may have less impact. If not, effort can be both lengthy and costly.
System software, operating systems, compilers, utilities, etc. In these cases, you usually perform maintenance on a schedule.
"Corrective Maintenance" is when you must fix errors - sometimes immediately.
Generally, you'll find three types of errors:
These errors include incomplete or faulty design because of incorrect, incomplete, or unclear descriptions, or when writer does not fully understand user's needs.
Often, logic errors occur when user instructions and/or unusual data combinations are not tested during development or maintenance. These errors, usually attributable to designer or previous maintainer, include invalid assumptions, tests, instructions, or conclusions, or faulty logic flow, and incorrect implementation.
The writer causes these errors. These errors include incorrect implementation or design logic, or incorrect use of special terms. While these errors may be result of negligence or carelessness, they are usually easiest to fix.
NOTE: Many managers consider maintenance to include changing specifications or adding new capabilities.
Fascinating stuff, eh?
============================================================ 5. Call to Action ============================================================
As I've said before, I'm a fanatic about documenting business processes.
Find out for yourself! You have nothing to lose.
Together, let's document what you want, how you want it, and when you want it. We will discuss various creative approaches before project begins.
Mike Hayden Principal/Consultant Your partner in streamlining business.
Mike Hayden is Founder/CEO of Senior Management Services and the Documentation Express in Silicon Valley, California. Mr Hayden is the author of "7 Easy Steps to your Raise and Promotion in 30-60 Days! The book that smart bosses want their employees to read." ISBN 0-9723725-1-2. More articles at http://www.SeniorManagementServices.com/pvt-information.html