Maintainability Testing | What, How to Measure & Best Practices

June 6, 2023Ritika Kumari
Maintainability Testing What, How to Measure & Best Practices

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All software undergoes continuous modifications. Sometimes developers do so to fulfill clients’ requests, and other times it is to upgrade the functionality or security features. But whatever the case, any changes made to the software require continuous monitoring and maintenance. Testing software for how maintainable it is, is called Maintainability testing.

Let’s dive deeper into the subject in this blog. We will also talk about automated testing with maintainability testing.

What is Maintainability Testing in Software?

Maintainability testing is verifying the software’s ability to maintain itself as it goes through several changes. Maintainability refers to a software’s capability to maintain itself under varying situations. It is important as applications go through several changes throughout the SDLC process, which clearly requires proper maintenance along with regular testing. And with maintainability testing, it becomes easier to validate a system’s potential to keep going with frequent features updates and bug fixes, among other things.

Maintainability testing is non-functional testing that defines how easy it is for developers to maintain, analyze, change a system, and run tests on it.

Please note that maintenance testing and maintainability testing are different. The former focuses on testing an application because of changes introduced in it. The latter checks how well the system can handle and maintain the changes.

Factors Affecting the Maintainability of the Software

There are several real-world and software-based factors that influence the maintainability of a system.

For instance, some of the real-world factors are:

  • How old the software is currently and how many changes it experiences on a weekly/monthly basis?
  • If the memory and storage of the application is sufficient to withstand the changes and maintain its functioning accordingly.
  • The skill your business possesses to understand maintainability testing.
  • How developers built the application? Did they develop with the idea of making the system self-sufficient and maintaining itself during modifications?

The software-based factors are:

  • Does the structure of the software support maintenance?
  • Which programming language is used to develop the software?
  • If the software is self-reliable to withstand changes without breaking down.

How to Measure the Maintainability of an Application?

Now, we will discuss how to measure them and gauge the maintainability of an application. Two of the most common measurement scales are: how changeable an application is and how stable it is while going through those changes. ISO is a popular standard that is internationally accepted and also provides guidelines for Systems and Software Quality Requirements and Evaluation (SQuaRE).

There are 5 prominent ISO-defined attributes that support the measurement of an application’s maintainability:

  • Modularity: This attribute focuses on the modular components of the system. It checks if the software consists of several independent components coming together. Based on the modularity of the application, a small change can have an impact on the application that might require renovations.
  • Reusability: This attribute looks for pre-existing code snippets you can reuse in the application or another software to replicate its functionality. It reduces the cost of writing new code and improves the quality and overall productivity of the software.
  • Analyzability: It checks how efficiently a software flow, often unintended, can be found and fixed. This attribute identifies defects in the system components that require changing.
  • Modifiability: As per its name, modifiability is the criteria of the system that checks how much a system can be modified without compromising its quality and existing features.
  • Testability: This attribute defines the degree of effectiveness with which test criteria can be developed. It further checks if these tests can meet those criteria.

How to Improve Your Software Maintainability with Testsigma?

There is no one way or concrete method to follow while implementing maintainability testing. As every software undergoes certain changes throughout SDLC and even after its release, maintainability testing then works on a case-to-case basis. Typically, automation tools greatly support and expedite maintainability, such as Testsigma. Let’s take an example of running visual testing with Testsigma to understand how the tool supports maintainability testing. You can perform both static and dynamic visual testing using our tool.

Testsigma allows the execution of visual testing for web and mobile applications. Before starting, you only need to tick the ‘Enable Visual testing for this step’ option. The visual testing option is now available for the next successful run, where the online UI elements are compared against a baseline image.

Steps to conduct GUI testing with Testsigma:

  • Create a test case, add it to a test suite, and add the test suite to a Test Plan as per your requirement.

Create a Test Case

  • Enable Visual Testing for the test steps that need visual testing.

Enable Visual Testing

  • Run your test plan once to save all images as base images. These are the baseline pictures to compare the visual changes.
  • Now Run your test plan again. The tool will automatically take screenshots of your application at every test step and make reference images.

Run the Test Case

  • Testsigma automatically compares these reference images with the base images in the first run to find differences.

Compare the Results

  • Any other changes in the screenshots are automatically ignored to avoid false negatives.

Having a baseline image makes it easy to test the visuals and maintain the same quality and look of the application in the future. Such practice improves the maintainability of the application and even allows for reusing the test cases if similar visuals need to be tested later on. Sign up for a demo to see all this in action.

Maintainability Testing Best Practices

But before you start maintaining your tests and also implement maintainability testing, here are some of the best practices that work for every type/category:

  • Ensure to build a list of maintainability factors before you start with the testing, which would include the stability and complexity of the code.
  • The software must adhere to appropriate standards for the database, interface, and development processes. One instance of this will be verifying if the application supports optimized algorithms and the ability to reuse the code.
  • Your maintainability testing should comply with the five maintainability attributes we mentioned above: Modularity, Reusability, Analyzability, Modifiability, and Testability.


Maintainability testing is the software’s ability to maintain itself as it goes through several modifications. It reduces the cost of maintaining the system. There are different categories of maintainability testing that focus on separate areas of the application and check for possible issues.

There are multiple ways to measure maintainability, which we have discussed in the above section.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of maintainability?

The purpose of maintainability is to better the maintenance efforts of the software. The higher the maintainability, the better the ability of the application to handle the changes and maintain itself.

What is an example of maintainability in software quality?

An example of maintainability in software quality is code with a clear structure and proper commenting that makes it easier for developers to debug and analyze the program if new lines are added to it.

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