Configuration management procedures can vary, but they typically comprise five core activities:Planning
Deciding what level of configuration management will be required by the project and planning how this level is to be achieved.
The level of control required will vary from project to project.
The maximum level of control possible is determined by breaking down the project’s products until the level is reached at which a component can be independently installed, replaced or modified.
However, the level of control exercised will be influenced by the importance of the project and the complexity of the relationship between its products.
Specifying and identifying all components of the project’s products (known as configuration items) at the required level of control.
A coding system should be established, enabling a unique identifier for each configuration item to be allocated and various attributes of the product recorded.
The ability to approve and baseline products and to make changes only with the agreement of appropriate authorities.
Once a product has been approved, the motto is ‘Nothing moves and nothing changes without authorization’.
A baseline is a reference level against which an entity is monitored and controlled.
In configuration management terms, it is a snapshot of a release, product and any component products, frozen at a point of time for a particular purpose.
This purpose may be when a product is ready to be reviewed or when it has been approved.
If the product that has been baselined is to be changed, a new version is created to accommodate the change, and the baseline version is kept unchanged.
Old baseline versions should be archived where possible, not discarded.
Configuration control also includes: the storing and retrieving of all information relevant to the management of the project; ensuring the safety and security of configuration items and controlling who has access to them; distribution of copies of all configuration items; and the archiving of all documentation produced during the project lifecycle.
Both management and specialist products are subject to configuration control.
The reporting of all current and historical data concerning each product in the form of a Product Status Account.
The Project Manager may call for a Product Status Account towards the end of a stage, at the end of the project, or as part of examining issues and risks.
A series of reviews and configuration audits to compare the actual status of all products against the authorized state of products as registered in the Configuration Item Records, looking for any discrepancies.
These reviews and audits also check that the configuration management procedure is being undertaken in accordance with the Configuration Management Strategy. The reviews are typically undertaken at the end of each stage and at the end of the project.
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