Categorized | Management

The Configuration Management Plan And Why It Is Needed

Good project planning is needed to ensure completion of quality deliverables and requirements of a project within the specified time frame. This includes a thorough description the project evaluation process, goals, objectives, activities & deliverables, a work plan & resource schedule and the project management process. Part of this includes configuration management, an essential component of project management that defines a set of processes and procedures required to ensure that all components in the production environments are clearly identified and that there is a system for modifying components and ensuring authorization for those modifications.

What Is A Configuration Management Plan
Configuration management, while begun as a result of a Department of Defense projects is more commonly used in hardware and software projects. Put simply, the configuration management plan is the identification and definition of deliverables that will be included in formal configuration management, what configuration management tools will be used and what project management templates are required.

Advantages Of Having A Configuration Management Plan
A good way to manage very technical aspects of technological projects such as sophisticated equipment, hardware and software systems, it facilitates handling and response to late-occurring issues as well as incorporates some aspects of change management in order to ensure efficiency and quality of the product at various stages.

The biggest and clearest advantage of having a configuration management plan is that it ensures consistency in the configuration of the finished product and its evolutions and allows a systematic way to manage changes that may be required in the deliverables such as hardware or software designs. A good configuration management plan will be able to define and document starting points and identify functional and physical specifications of the deliverable at various points in time as well as record changes while ensuring that these changes are done systematically while maintaining integrity throughout various points of the lifecycle of the product or deliverable. It should also be able to trace changes that have been made and ensure that all planned enhancements and improvements are present in the final release of the product.

Four Components Of A Good Configuration Management Plan
Configuration identification. This is the portion of the plan where every aspect of a configuration item or product is defined, often according to the purpose or function it is expected to perform for the end user and then documented and baselined. Having a baseline ensures that configuration change control processes are followed should there be changes required to the product.

Configuration change control. This is the set of processes and approval stages required in order to make changes to a product. When a change has been implemented, this stage also requires re-baselining the product for proper control and traceablility.

Configuration status accounting. This aspect of the configuration management plan involves recording and documenting the configuration baselines associated with each configuration item at any given period.

Configuration audits. These have two components, functional and physical. Both types of audits can be done at delivery or at the phase wherein changes are being implemented. A functional configuration audit ensures that the product performs and functions in the way it is detailed according to agreed upon specifications while a physical configuration audit ensures that a product’s physical specifications are complete according to requirements detailed in the design documents.

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