The paper does a good job of first introducing a reader to the problems related to maintenance and change management of an IS and then moving on into how to identify possible changes and then how to engender the flexibility to incorporate these changes as and when they occur into the system.
It is rightly stated that identifying all possible changes or even a good percentage of them is not an easy task. It is this difficulty of identifying future requirements and the consequent inflexibility of information systems (IS) in the context of incorporating unperceived changes which make the maintenance process difficult and costly, and may lead to IS failure or obsolescence.
According to the paper, IS changes may result from maintenance requirements; maintenance however has been defined in a broader context by the authors, which blurs the boundaries between bug fixing and enhancement. Where run-time bug-fixing may be part of maintaining activities, it is wrong to suggest that the corrections needed due to unfulfilled requirements are also part of maintaining a system. A system which does not meet its requirements, however they may have been presented, is essentially an unsuccessful system that needs ‘correction’ not ‘maintenance’ per say which has nothing to do with future requirements or change identification.
The paper however is correct in stating that maintenance may be required in case of shifting requirements, where end users are not quite sure about what they want and want the IS to be changed only after having an initial experience with it. If however the requirements keep changing during the IS design and/or development stages, the resultant changes in the system will not be categorized as ‘maintenance’ but simply as a ‘rework’. The solution for such problems is to ‘freeze’ the requirements at a suitable point in time after thorough requirements analysis. Many of the techniques discussed in the paper to anticipate future change scenario may in fact be used to identify the correct system requirements.
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