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 Maintenance Process provides the guidelines for the long-term enhancement aspect of system maintenance: how to assess and design system upgrades resulting from business changes; how to build and test the upgraded system to assure that it satisfies the new business needs; and how to seamlessly transition the upgraded system into the current production environment. The major activities of this Process include assessing the feasibility and effort required to fulfill a business request for system change and scoping the work accordingly; planning, designing and implementing the changes to the system and accompanying documentation; testing the amended system at the unit, system, integration, and acceptance levels; and transitioning the amended system into production with minimal disruption of normal business activities.
The following diagram depicts the dependency relationships between the stages in the Maintenance Process template.