Software maintenance seen as a knowledge management issue
Creating and maintaining software systems is a knowledge intensive task. One needs to have a good understanding of the application domain, the problem to solve and all its requirements, the software process used, technical details of the programming language(s), the system’s architecture and how the different parts fit together, how the system interacts with its environment, etc. All this knowledge is difficult and costly to gather. It is also difficult to store and usually lives only in the mind of the software engineers who worked on a particular project. If this is a problem for development of new software, it is even more for maintenance, when one must rediscover lost information of an abstract nature from legacy source code among a swarm of unrelated details. In this paper, we submit that this lack of knowledge is one of the prominent problems in software maintenance. To try to solve this problem, we adapted a knowledge extraction technique to the knowledge needs specific to software maintenance. We explain how we explicit the knowledge discovered on a legacy software during maintenance so that it may be recorded for future use. Some applications on industry maintenance projects are reported.