Configuration Management

First group of two articles by Dashiell Kopp

Article #1 "Configuration Management" found using the Scirus database on <>

Managing Engineering, Construction and Manufacturing Projects to PMI, APM and BSI Standards
2007, Pages 88-89

The basic idea of configuration management can be summarized into one word – organization. Configuration management is a tool used in a variety of fields to maintain clarity in all aspects of a project or system. Developed by the U.S. Air Force, one of its original uses was to manage hardware, but it has been adopted by many technical fields including Systems Engineering. A key idea of this concept is traceability. Throughout the course of any given project or system (in our case, we would focus on the projects aspects), numerous changes and adaptions can be made creating a possibility for a lost sense of direction. The project begins with set characteristics and design standards and should end with those same qualities. To safeguard the project from any undesired changes which do not represent the desired final product, configuration management is employed to analyze and document any changes that may take place in any of the physical mechanisms, software, or any other system characteristic. Through this process, developers can see a clear design path from each developmental change. Also, it serves as a record of the initial product plan to further ensure the final product is precisely as planned. Essentially, it is the documentation of the initial product plans and any changes that must be made, making sure that any changes stay within the realm of the desired vision. This concept of configuration management plays a vital role in the success of products and systems when many components are constantly being altered.

This is extremely applicable to our project considering all the parts of the project must work together functionally in order to be successful. If any part of the design changes for any reason, all of the groups must analyze the change and agree upon implementing it before any other action is taken.

Article #2 "Tactical Battlefield Networks" found using IEEE database on <>*%26searchField%3DSearch+All

An example that does not directly relate to what we will be utilizing but still important to understanding the general concept is the management of tactical battlefield networks. Dealing with these battlefield networks can be extremely complicated due to changes in network elements (signals being jammed, switchers/routers disappearing and appearing, and frequent traffic pattern shifts). It is because of all these changes that a configuration manager is integral. In our project, we would use a configuration manager through personal input (either a written or typed record) and then analyze things manually. However, this method wouldn’t be efficient in a dynamic battlefield environment. Therefore, developers of this tactical network attempt to automate the entire process. Their goals are synonymous and would yield the same results.

This is just an interesting application of configuration processes that may help lead you to further understanding the concept and the importance associated with it.

Configuration Management Articles.

Kurt Rose

Article #1 “Configuration Management Work Activities” found using Scirus database on <>

This article defines configuration management as “a set of activities that identifies, documents and controls configuration items relevant to a particular investment program and the larger Enterprise Architecture of which it is a part.” The purpose of configuration management is to control and maintain a symbiotic relationship between all the other systems and groups working on a single project, such as our PTM.

The article talks about configuration control boards. This is defined as a decision making body that examines and decides whether changes to requirements, product design, and so on, are cost-effective and should be pursued. The “old kids” function sort of the same as a configuration control board because they work together to make sure that everyone is on top of their parts and make sure that the will all work together.

Configuration management is necessary for our project, because it is an entity that keeps everyone in check, and make sure that all the groups work together and are productive towards the final product. If there is a change to one group, it does affect everyone else’s.

Article #2 “Software configuration management for safety related applications in space systems: extending the application of the USAF 8-Step Method” found using Scirus databases on <>

This article says, “configuration management ensures that the requirements and constraints, identified in previous stages of development, are preserved throughout the design, implementation and operation of complex systems.” It can be hard to keep track of everything while doing work over an extended period of time and that’s why it’s important to implement configuration management. As a team we can keep track of how everything is going, what steps have previously been taken and what steps are needed to reach our final project, while meeting the requirements that our PTM needs.

This article can apply to our PTM because it shows why configuration management is necessary. I think that our team is doing a relatively good job of keeping track of things with our grid of “things to do by this date” on the whiteboard.