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Project Management Standards (Part 4 of 5) - IT Configuration Management Standard

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/6/2011

Configuration management (CM), is a part of management to ensure the performance, design and functionality of a product or system continually conforms to the standards laid down by the Quality Standards Organizations.

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    Configuration management (CM), divested of all technical jargons, may be defined as a part of IT management that exercises vigil for the consistent quality performance a system or a product performance with regard to both design and functionality. Configuration management in the IT area will mean continued recording, reviewing and updating of information pertaining to an organization’s computer systems, installed software packages, network, hardware and software components.Configuration Management Standard 

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    Software Configuration Management (SCM)

    Special configuration management software (SCM) is available in the market and whenever a system needs a software upgrade, a computer technician can study the existing configuration management program and decide on suitable upgrade.

    The striking feature of configuration management software is it facilitates reviewing of the entire collection of systems to ensure any changes made to one system does not adversely impact any of the other systems.

    Computer professionals agree that traditional software configuration management (SCM) continues to be the best solution for dealing with changes in software project management system. It effectively identifies the operability and other critical attributes of software at any given point in time and performs required changes for sustaining software integrity as well as software traceability.

    The four basic functions of SCM are - configuration identification, configuration control, configuration status accounting and configuration audits. It may not be out of place to mention that configuration management is also used in software development, where it helps developers to keep track of the source code, connected documentation, sorting out problems, monitor changes requested and changes made.

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    Configuration and Change management

    Change and configuration management pertains to implementing software configuration along with change management process. To do this, IBM Rational Clearcase and ClearQuest are generally used and considered of proven worth. The purpose of change and configuration management process is to minimize risks which form integral part when doing changes and configurations.

    IT groups constantly require changes in access, control and configurations. There is a need to promptly and accurately detect changes as also isolate problems caused by these changes. For both unscheduled and scheduled changes, it is imperative to know what changes are needed, what changes are unnecessary, and identifying when the changes are needed.

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    Software Configuration Management Status Reporting

    The aim of status reporting is to make available, in a simplified manner, all the information needed to efficiently manage a product's development and maintenance. The various areas in configuration management provide the basic data for status reporting - as metadata and change control data. Status reporting comprises of extraction, orderly formation and presentation of relevant data in a prioritized way. The methods necessary for the activities in status reporting may include procedures for the production of available status reports, procedures for ad hoc extraction of information and creation of templates for status reports.

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    Various Standards for Conformity

    Here are few of the well-known Standards (which are existing and more effective than a number of other standards) for conformity:

    IEEE Standard 828-1998: IEEE Standard for Software Configuration Management Plan establishes the basic content requirements of a Software Configuration Management Plan and spells out the specific activities to be addressed for any part of a software product's life cycle.

    Quality Management, Guidance for Configuration Management conforming to ISO 10007-1995

    Information technology -- Software life cycle processes conforming to ISO/IEC 12207-1995

    MIL-HDBK-61 Configuration Management Guidance: This is a military handbook that provides guidance and information to Defense acquisition managers, logistics managers, and other individuals assigned responsibility for Configuration Management.

    ANSI EIA-649 (1998) National Consensus standard for Configuration Management

    EIA-649-A 2004 National Consensus Standard for Configuration Management

    ISO 10007:2003 Quality management systems - Guidelines for configuration management

    (Source: WikiPedia)

    Image Credit: WikiMedia Commons