Software Innovation as Maintenance

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Abstract

This paper entertains the notion that software maintenance and innovation are more closely related than is commonly accepted. We consider perspectives where innovation projects are understood as attempts to engineer both the social and the technological, where processes of innovation imply the configuring of users, communities, and artifacts through the work of maintenance, manifest perhaps as bricolage or drift. If this alternate interpretation of innovation is accepted, it implies a renewed sensitivity to research and method aligned to innovation settings, emphasizing subjects’ interpretations, language, perceptions, behavior and even culture. This has implications for developing a deeper and more intimate understanding of processes surrounding software development.