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Controlling the Software Asset
What is software? To the marketing rep it's a product; to customer service it's the thing that generates all those questions; to the software developer it's source code, text files, etc. To the corporation it's simply an asset, one in which the company has invested considerable money. As with other assets, a corporation must monitor and control its software - from the day development starts to the day the system is finally retired. Monitoring and controlling software requires management procedures and automated tools. Several issues related to controlling the software asset are discussed below.

Controlling software updates in a multi-developer environment
In a multi-developer environment updates made by one developer can be easily overwritten by another developer. These lost software updates are a frustrating and time-consuming problem. The ability to control updates is essential to efficient software project management.

Providing a historical record of changes to the software
A common problem during maintenance is the following: "it worked in the previous release, why isn't it working now". This frequently happens when fixing one bug inadvertently creates one or more new bugs. One quick way to address these problems is to review the update record. An update record provides the audit trail for managing software.

Maintaining multiple versions of a software system
The marketplace frequently requires vendors to support multiple versions of a software system. Usually most of the software (greater than 90%) is common to all versions. Most source code management tools support multiple versions of a software system.

Managing overlapping software maintenance and development
A common problem in maintaining an evolving software system is the need to fix problems in the current production release while continuing development of the next release. The ability to recover and correct the previous release (without affecting the current development effort) is critical for timely support of a software system.

Providing summaries of software progress and status
To effectively managing software development and maintenance assumes that one can monitor and measure the process. Without measurement there is no true avenue for control. Tools to summarize the status of software source code are essential.

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