OnlineIdea | Innovation vs. maintenance - how to find the right balance?
Development strategies
Innovation vs. maintenance - how to find the right balance?

Sometimes it can be extremely difficult to maintain a product - not only do you have to take care of existing customers, but at the same time innovate to attract new ones. These new features keep the product attractive and profitable, but smaller improvements and bug fixes are also required. Finding a balance between the two can also be complicated by the constant changes in the market, which the Product Manager is not always able to predict.

Innovation and maintenance - what are the differences?

In the case of innovation, we are dealing with the introduction of a new functionality into the system. They are often experimental and not always well received, but they allow to gain the knowledge necessary to plan the next steps, resulting directly from customer demand.

Maintenance includes general fixes to the product, aimed at improving its overall reception and keeping it up to date. These include minor changes as well as updates to eliminate bugs.
Innovation and maintenance are naturally quite different things - creating new features and taking care of current ones, are of a different nature. It is for this reason that a completely different approach should be used to work on them.

How to combine innovation and maintenance?
A good solution is to create two teams whose tasks complement each other. Those working on new features will then focus on implementing them and verifying their effectiveness, while those taking care of maintenance will focus on making the work easy, finding bugs efficiently and fixing them quickly.

Using separate teams for both areas is beneficial if they stay in constant contact and cooperate. This helps to avoid many mistakes that could be caused by a lack of proper communication between them. Particularly important, therefore, is the role of the Product Manager, who should balance innovation and maintenance issues. He or she must decide how much time to devote to the development of new functionalities and how this effort will relate to maintenance work that safeguards the operation of the product.

Thus, with close cooperation of the entire team, optimal results can be achieved. The introduction of modern functionalities of the system allows greater differentiation of the presented offer, and thus - to reach new customers. Innovative solutions also make it possible to increase the degree of individualization of products. Significant benefits also arise from maintenance work - by taking care of product maintenance and using proven solutions, it is possible to increase the quality of IT services. This allows for cost optimization by reducing the operating costs for the company whilst maintaining the high quality of products and services.

Conclusion and summary
Finding a balance between innovation and maintenance, contrary to appearances, is not complicated. To achieve it, one should consider such a division of work that both enables the creation of an attractive product for new customers and ensures the satisfaction of existing ones. Effective management of this balance is the foundation of successful IT companies. Both the introduction of new features and the improvement of current ones are mandatory activities that, when properly managed by the Product Manager, provide the opportunity to reach more customers and thus - increase profits.