Are you ready for the Maintenance Project?

Posted on Saturday, December 15, 2007


Some time back we were approached by a huge organization to maintain one of their projects. This project was not developed by us but we were being requested to maintain it.

Without getting into the reasons of why the client did not trust the original development company with the maintenance, let me instead focus on the list of questions that we asked the client for the intake. The idea is to let you know a list of questions that you should ask the client to begin the intake.

We distributed the questions into 4 categories

  1. Technology
  2. Process
  3. People
  4. Others

Following is a list of questions that we put in each of these categories.


  1. What are the kind and number of projects/environments which need to be maintained? Are they domain specific?

  2. Can you give us an idea of size and scope of the environment which needs to be monitored?

  3. Are there any copyright informations associated with the system which is being maintained?

  4. What are the primary technologies used on the projects ?

  5. How old are the systems in terms of application life cycle?

  6. What kind of documentation is available?

  7. Are the architecture and design documents available?

  8. Is the code available in a configuration management system? If yes, what kind of system.

  9. Can we audit the quality of the system to understand its complexity and manageability?

  10. What is the scope of the work? Entire platform, product line, few applications of a department etc?

  11. What are the security, performance and other facilities associated with the system which needs to be maintained

  12. What are the environmental needs for setting up the infrastructure of our project environment.

  13. The amount and types of storage required to operate the system, the broad parameters of the storage locations and resources that are required, and any algorithms used to determine that amount.

  14. Is there any special purpose software required for the system including DBMS utility software and CM software.

  15. In what laguage are the code and documentation, it could be Dutch or French?

  16. Is there a recommended development environment? or can we chose our own setup




  1. Would we have access to the client environment? Would it be staging or production?

  2. Are there any licenses required for operating the software or any licenses for the products which the software which needs to be maintained uses?

  3. Any help desk information including responsible personnel phone numbers for emergency assistance.

  4. How would you like the maintenance contract to work? Flat fee, incident based, piece work, pay by the hour etc

  5. What are the expected deliverables and SLA’s?

  6. What kind of support is expected 24×7, 16×7, 16×5 etc?

  7. What maintenance methodology is desired?

  8. How does the governance work, any recommendation from KLM? Who supervises the effort and reporting etc?

  9. How does the change management and issue tracking work?

  10. Any maintenance procedure and appropriate sequencing for setting up, running, and terminating the maintenance task.

  11. Status reporting, Approval process etc?

  12. How do we resolve disputes?

  13. Backups, disaster recovery expectations if any?

  14. Performance standards and measurement criteria for the work performed at the offshore location.

  15. Would the client continue to hold the Intellectual Property?

  16. Desired communication strategy?




  1. Is there adequate in-house expertise available to pass on the knowledge about the projects?

  2. Who built the projects, are they available to answer questions, who are the stakeholders for the project.

  3. Can you provide a list of all the organizations and external vendors involved as contributing parties in the creation and subsequent maintenance of the system? Can they be contacted now?

  4. What are the skills required for people who would be maintaining the project?

  5. How would the people be put on the maintenance projects, would the client require a say in the people who work on the projects?

  6. Would the client need a captive team? or a fixed number of people on rotation?

  7. Would there be a dedicated coordinator for each project ?

  8. List of the points of organizational contact that may be needed by the maintenance organization for informational and troubleshooting purposes.



  1. What are your main expectations of outsourcing the monitoring and maintenance of the Webfarm?

  2. What could be the biggest asset or achievement we bring into the organisation on this assignment?

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