Once an automated system is built, it must be properly maintained to ensure that short-term malfunctions are attended to in a manner that will prevent them from seriously plaguing the system, and that system productivity keeps pace to a reasonable degree with changes in business practices. It is important that procedures and guidelines for system maintenance be put in place and followed to avoid the chaos and expense of a system that functions inadequately or no longer serves the business needs for which it was built. The Emergency Fix Process provides the guidelines for the short-term aspect of system maintenance: how to identify, solve, and prevent emergency malfunctions, and how to assess the scope and long-term impact of emergency solutions and position them to ensure future problem avoidance. The major activities of this Process include tracking a reported problem to its source; designing, implementing and testing an immediate (and preferably permanent) solution; analyzing the extended impact of the fix on the system, on other related systems, and on ongoing systems development; and taking measures to prevent the same or similar problems from occurring in the future.
The following diagram depicts the dependency relationships between the stages in the Emergency Fix Process template.