Empirical Software Engineering

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 31–55 | Cite as

A Survey of Documentation Practice within Corrective Maintenance

  • Mira Kajko-Mattsson


The purpose of documentation is to describe software systems and software processes. Consistent, correct and complete documentation of a software system is an important vehicle for the maintainer to gain its understanding, to ease its learning and/or relearning processes, and to make the system more maintainable. Poor system documentation, on the other hand, is the primary reason for quick software system quality degradation and ageing. Proper process documentation records the process, its stages and tasks, executing roles, their decisions and motivations, and the results of each individual process task. It is extremely important for achieving insight and visibility into the processes, important for their meaningful process measurement and thereby pivotal for achieving high process maturity. In this paper, we report on the results of an explorative study in which we have identified a number of rudimentary documentation requirements relevant within corrective maintenance, and found out how they were implemented within eighteen software organizations in Sweden. The goal was to examine the industrial documentation practice within corrective maintenance. Our results show that the documentation within corrective maintenance is still a very neglected issue within the organisations studied. None of our organisations has fully implemented all our documentation requirements.

Corrective maintenance software system documentation software process documentation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mira Kajko-Mattsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Software Maintenance Laboratory, Department of Computer and Systems SciencesStockholm University, Royal Institute of Technology, and IT UniversitySweden

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