The 10 Commandments of Software Maintenance Plans

What’s the best way to write a Software Maintenance plan? Software Maintenance Plans are different than other technical documents in that the focus is on how to modify software AFTER it has been released and is now in operations. Most other documents focus on planning, development or testing.

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How to Write Software Maintenance Plans

So, what do you need to include in your Software Maintenance Plan?

Software Maintenance planing includes ten activities:

  1. Preparation – Describe software preparation and transition activities including the conception and creation of the maintenance plan; describe how to handle problems identified during development and configuration management.
  2. Modification – After the application has become the responsibility of the maintenance team, explain how to analyze each request; confirm and check validity; investigate and propose solutions; document the proposal and get the required authorizations to apply the modifications.
  3. Implementation – Describe the process for considering the implementation of the modification itself.
  4. Acceptance – Describe how the modification is accepted by the maintenance team.
  5. Migration – Describe any migration tasks that need to be executed. If the software needs to be moved to another system, outline the steps to do so without impacting its functionality.
  6. Transition – Document the sequence of activities to transition the system from Development to Maintenance.
  7. Service Level Agreements – Document SLAs and maintenance contracts negotiated by Maintenance.
  8. Change Request – Outline the problem-handling process to prioritize, documents and route change and maintenance requests.
  9. Modification Request acceptance/rejection – Describe the request including details of the size/effort/complexity. If this is too complex to resolve, outline the steps to route the issue back to the software team.
  10. Retirement – This is the final stage in the lifecycle. Describe how to retire the software and the steps to archive any data that may be a by-product of the system.


There are two sides to Software Maintenance Plans – management and technical.

  • Management issues include aligning with customer priorities, resources, setting up maintenance teams, and costs.
  • Technical issues include impact analysis, testing, maintainability measurement.

Next week, we’ll look at how to write your Maintenance Plan and what areas you need to document.