Getting More from Your Application Portfolio – Part II

Projects on the
other hand, will be of the order of 6-person months or more. Having a large number of small requests results in
spending needless time in managing these requests. A smaller number of large
requests can imply idle time between releases. A mix of small and large
requests will leverage the team appropriately.

Since requests arrive at an unpredictable rate, the ability to consolidate
multiple small requests into a larger patch request will be important. The
attempt should organize and staff the team so there is a steady group
that can handle a predefined number of small requests and application
issues. Fixes or changes that are waiting for a release need to be
eliminated to the extent possible.


Correction in the application maintenance context can be thought of as the
effort spent in rectifying errors: fixes that fail, and releases that have
bugs. To minimize the effort spent in correction would involve implementing
process quality that includes effective reviews and testing.

In the
maintenance context, the major reasons for the defects are:

  • Poor configuration control;
  • Poor understanding of the existing application;
  • Inadequate standards;
  • Lack of reviews at the impact analysis and design change stages;
  • Lack of regression testing; and
  • Poor test coverage.
  • Introducing these activities in the maintenance process, besides estimating
    adequate time for these activities will ensure that your defect rates are
    minimized to a significant extent. There are no short cuts to achieving
    this. It will take discipline, communication and leadership to ensure that
    these issues are addressed effectively.


    The concept of conveyance in manufacturing is the unnecessary movement of a
    part during production. Conveyance brings to mind porting and migration
    projects on the one hand, and the operating system, or database, or compiler
    upgrades that happen due to obsolescence.

    The quality of the original code is a major input into these costs.

    Questioning the need to migrate and port is the first weapon that you have
    in reducing conveyance costs. The second is to ensure that all of your code
    complies with standards that all compilers in that language or
    database management system must adhere to. The third defense is to plan
    early for all your migration/porting needs.

    Waiting until the last minute
    puts your team under tremendous pressure. Raising the question of migration
    and upgrades early with your vendors will ensure that there are appropriate
    solutions provided. You then will have the leverage to negotiate better with
    your customers and your product vendors.

    Application maintenance can take up nearly 70% of the total application
    lifecycle effort. By applying the principle of lean manufacturing to your
    application portfolio, your IT organization will realize increased quality
    and productivity while reducing unnecessary costs.

    Ramesh Dorairaj is head of Application Management Services for MindTree Consulting. Ramesh has more than 18 years of industry experience across domains such as
    banking, commercial markets, retail, utilities and manufacturing. He
    currently advises MindTree customer on better management of their
    application portfolio, establishing appropriate support organization
    structures, implementing quality frameworks like CMMi and scaling up IT
    organizations to meet growth challenges.