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Optimal Policies for the Sizing and Timing of Software Maintenance Projects

European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 173, No. 3, pp. 1047-1066, 2006

McCombs Research Paper Series No. IROM-11-08

29 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2008 Last revised: 23 Nov 2008

Qi Feng

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management

Vijay Mookerjee

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Suresh Sethi

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management

Abstract

We present a model to determine the optimal point for maintaining a software application. We also address the question: given that a maintenance project has been initiated, should maintenance effort continue till the project is completed? Most previous literature has implicitly assumed that it is optimal to complete a maintenance project once it has been initiated. We analyze two policies: a work-based policy and a time-based policy. In the work-based policy, a fixed amount of work needs to be completed, and the time taken to accomplish the work is random. In the time-based policy, a fixed amount of time is allocated to maintenance, but a random amount of work is completed. We examine similarities and differences between the above two policies and provide insights into the management of software maintenance projects. A key insight of this study is that under a variety of situations, partial maintenance is suboptimal.

Keywords: Software maintenance, Dynamic programming, Threshold policy, optimal timing

JEL Classification: C61, M10

Suggested Citation

Feng, Qi and Mookerjee, Vijay and Sethi, Suresh, Optimal Policies for the Sizing and Timing of Software Maintenance Projects. European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 173, No. 3, pp. 1047-1066, 2006; McCombs Research Paper Series No. IROM-11-08. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1095520

Qi Feng

Purdue University - Krannert School of Management ( email )

1310 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1310
United States

Vijay Mookerjee

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083-0688
United States

Suresh Sethi (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - Naveen Jindal School of Management ( email )

800 W. Campbell Road, SM30
Richardson, TX 75080-3021
United States

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