From software configuration to application management: Improving the maturity of the maintenance of embedded software

Jorma Taramaa, Veikko Seppänen, Minna Mäkäräinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The electronic and automation industries develop and maintain software embedded in computer‐controlled products. Configuration management is one of the basic activities that must be performed in order to control product level changes for maintaining product integrity. Practitioners have traditionally seen version control as a sufficient solution to the configuration management problem. However, increasingly complex products have forced them to consider the problem more comprehensively. Flexible delivery of products based on automated change control is a key activity in application management which is a new challenge for traditional configuration management practices.

Companies developing embedded software may operate with a rather low level of maintenance process maturity. The assessment of software process maturity is based on various factors. Configuration Management (CM) is one of the basic goals at the ‘repeatable’ level of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). The higher the maturity levels that are sought, the more integrated the CM environment used has to be. The definition and implementation of change control is one of the basic problems to be solved when seeking advanced CM practices. Change control can be regarded as a bridge from software maintenance to configuration management.

Although CM is regarded as a known technology, the maintenance of embedded computer systems sets new types of requirements. One of the major differences between embedded and legacy systems has been the secondary role of software in several embedded computer systems. In this paper, we describe an incremental approach advancing from CM to application management which was developed in co‐operation with industry. The approach is strongly biased towards re‐engineering driven software maintenance.

Two cases are described, one of which indicates maintenance requirements for CM. In this case the starting level of CM is low and the secondary role of software sets specific requirements for the CM development. The other case describes an environment where advanced techniques supporting maintenance are linked to CM features. The procedure for dealing with these cases is based on predefined requirements, scenarios to implement these requirements, and technical solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-75
JournalJournal of Software Maintenance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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