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Lecture – 37 Project Configuration Management

October 11, 2019

Today we are going to talk about configuration
management. Now let us look at what are the minimum services
that a project manager must provide to all the people working on his project. Let us take a simple example; suppose all
of you are sitting in a class and you are given a ten minutes break so you just walk
off from the class room leaving your things behind and when you come back after ten minutes
you expect that everything that you left behind will be where it was left behind. Then we have the next particular question;
whose responsibility is it to make sure that the things that you left behind are where
they are left behind and the answer obviously is the college management’s responsibility
to make sure that this particular assurance is provided to the participants. Now we are talking about the same thing; suppose
you have many people working in a project and they have different artifacts that they
are working on and simple example like somebody having a file name created by one name and
another person creates another file by the same name and then you have a problem or somebody
by mistake deletes a directory or moves a directory which has a profound impact on a
built sequence of the product. So from that point of view what we need to make sure is
in general there is a very strong change control system that is put in place for every project. And configuration management system basically
is one part of that particular whole change management system. Here is a question; the project manager is
supposed to provide the minimum service to all the software developers like project control,
quality assurance, verification, and validation and configuration management. So the changes
are made in a controlled fashion and the integrity, availability, consistency, accuracy and all
these particular things are guaranteed for every one. In short, work of one person should not interfere
with the work of other people. then we ask a question; why this particular
aspect is more important for software and the answer is very simple, changes to software
are unavoidable, the changes takes place while the software is in the making process and
the changes takes place even after the software is delivered. So the change is a constant
kind of a factor in the product life cycle of a software product. Now these changes may be initiated by variety
of people, for instance the customer may initiate requirement changes, a developer may initiate
the bug detected changes and the product support people may initiate it platform or environment
related changes and in all these particular cases you must have a good particular change
control system. So before we talk of configuration management
let us look at typical schematic change control system. So if you look at the slide now what you see
here is we need to have some kind of a base line plan for a particular project then we
need to keep on reviewing the status then determine if the changes are there or not
and if the changes are there then we need to make sure that we update the project plan,
we take corrective action and we share the lessons that is basically our continuous learning
kind of an exposure. Remember, whenever you find fault take corrective action and change
the process. Obviously this may have a consequential effect
on several other aspects of the product and from that point of view the plan may have
to be also changed. So this is general schematic change control
system that continues to exist in any particular product. So a good change control system is essential
when planning for changes. Planning in the sense that you do not like changes but if
they do happen you want to bring them about in a controlled way. So, the change control system is a collection
of formal documented procedure that defines as to how the changes will be assessed and
met. So the entire paper work, tracking system,
processes and different actions at different particular appropriate levels are all a part
of your change control system. Now the change control system will normally
include authority which authorizes changes, somebody who can which can also look after
the configuration management. In a loose sense it is like a store keeper’s
kind of a thing, store keeper’s job. Remember, in a factory, for instance, suppose
you are manufacturing an Indica car and you need to change the housing of a particular
tail light the decision whether to or not to make a change in the tail light, the change
is undertaken by an engineer .but once that change is accepted accepting those particular
parts, taking care of the old parts and the issuing of the old and new parts all this
is looked after by the store keeper. So the storekeeper does not play a role in
authorizing whether or not to change the part but plays a role in whether or not that correct
part is being received and issued. Similarly we also need to intimate the change,
in case we make a change the corresponding change will have to be intimated to all concerned. So this total aspect is basically referred
to as a change control system. The main objective of change control system is, first, influencing
the factors that create changes to ensure that the changes are minimal and beneficial.
This involves like making a trade off between the scope and cost and schedule and quality
and so on and so forth. Second, determine that the changes that we
say need to happen actually do happen. That is to determine that the status of those particular
items has changed. Third is, we need to make sure that whenever
the changes do occur those changes are communicated to all concerned. As a matter of fact the
all concerned need to be somewhat affected by taking the decision but after making the
change they need to be informed that the change has been made. And then we have managing those
changes in a general sense. These are basically the broad objectives of
a change control system. Now let us go one step further and see what
configuration management is. If you look at the slides configuration management is directed
at ensuring that the project’s product is correct and complete at all times. The next thing is the goals of CM are to maximize
the productivity by minimizing mistakes. here we are talking of mistakes related to
configuration problems in the sense that somebody was to make a change to a software component
and wrong component of the wrong version got changed or the changed component went to a
wrong library then it is a configuration management problem and not sort of making the change
kind of a problem in that particular sense. One of the categories that we have in fault
analysis is whether the particular fault can be attributed to lack or poor configuration
control. So the goal is minimizing the mistakes and
increasing the size. The third is effectiveness of CM is judged
by the number of defects reported due to incorrect or inappropriate configuration control. And
last but not the least we say configuration management is an umbrella activity which operates
throughout the project and the product life cycle. As a matter of fact the organization may have
several norms and standards for how to undertake configuration management not only for the
single project that we are talking about but for all projects in the organization. So remember CM operates during the development
and during the operations. The next question is, what are the main functions
that are performed by CM. First let us enumerate them and once we have enumerated them then
let us lo at all these particular functions one by one. So the first and the foremost if you look
at the slide is configuration identification. This looks like a simple issue but it is a
very difficult issue. On a lighter side it is like giving a name
to a child Bandhini or own household versus giving an ID to somebody on the internet so
there is a difference in the way you go about doing these things. You also need to define that this particular
configuration item belongs here or where and so on and so forth. The next function that we have is configuration
control. Once we have put an item under configuration we need to make sure that its integrity and
traceability is monitored, controlled like receiving, approving, monitoring, changing
recode, defect reports all these particular things and of course releasing the corrected
product at appropriate time etc fall under configuration control. The third thing is status accounting. This
configuration management reporting is a very powerful tool for the management to know whether
the product making process is working as planned. So, the status of the product and reporting
of the product status is taken care of by this particular process. Next particular one is configuration audit.
Audit is an independent assessment to ensure that the things are happening the way they
are supposed to happen, the processors are being followed and the right process is being
used for the right purpose. Last but not the least like every other activity
we need to organize for the configuration management activity. Let us look at these particular functions
one by one. What are typical configuration items?
If we look at the slide it says application software with documents.
The typical configuration items are requirement specifications. This is a very important item,
outline of detailed design, source codes, executable codes, for instance corresponding
test data file, the input test file, the output test files, the programs specification, the
user manuals, instructions for compilation, executable object etc happen to be configuration
items. They need to be identified. Remember why the trouble happens. Suppose
we have a source code and we have a object code we can make modification to the source
code without affecting the object. Somewhere down the line we have a problem,
how we know that which particular object corresponds to which particular source code. And in case
we have an integrated problem between the source code and its corresponding object code
then you are in deep trouble. So, the first thing we are worried about is
application identification. Then we have to take a caution. First thing you must realize,
all project inputs are mandatory CIs, they must belong to the configuration control category. So whenever we have a requirements document
what we have received from customers then acceptance criteria or any particular data
that the customer may give you in terms of test data, items received from the customer
like standards, tools, templates etc all these are part of your configuration items.
Of course what you must realize is that there may be hardware items also which are under
configuration control and there may be physical documents also under configuration control. A customer’s contract for instance may be
a hard copy signed by the customer in which particular case this hard copy itself becomes
a configuration item. Now we need to ask a question what is not
a configuration item. Anything in between communication letters, status reports, time
sheets, project specific forms or guidelines which are used they do not really form the
configuration items, they do not need to be preserved in the sense of identifiability
that we are talking about. Once we got the items identified that are
only the beginning of the story. So if you look at the slide again here we talk of versions
of CI. Every time you check an item in to a configuration
stores this particular configuration stores will give it a version number. Suppose we start from here then the object
will be numbered object 1.0. Every time this item is issued out and received back it must
receive another version number say 1.1. Many times you find that the manufacturers
are working on several configuration versions. Take a typical example; suppose you are supporting
a RDBMS product, Oracle or any other particular product what you will have is you will be
supporting the current version, you will set two versions of this particular product and
you may be working on next two versions of the product. Now again you are going to ask me a question;
why two versions and why not one version? The answer is very simple, completing a version
and putting it into the market is a very different thing. So one version will have been completed and
it may have gone for production launch, distribution and that sort of a thing, it is going to take
a finite time and a finite amount of energy to put this particular version into market
and while that particular process is going on you are not going to sit on your back side
and do nothing so what you are going to do is we are going to start continue to work
on improving the product. So from that point of view you will always
be working on two future versions; one will be a finished version which is up for marketing
and the other one is a particular thing. Now another very important aspect that you
must realize is that the versions that you are having, usually there is only one appropriate
correct version that is in the market though you support the earlier one. But there is another aspect called a variant.
Remember, multiple versions do not coexist; only one version will exist at a time whereas
you may have many variants of the same product in the market at the same time. What do you mean by a variant?
Take a simple; suppose you had a banking product and it was sold to one particular bank and
after that particular product you need to sell it to another particular bank and that
bank may want some minor modifications and though you are a firm believer of using the
products on as is kind of a condition you may sometimes want to do minor modifications
to a product. So this product which is modified a little
would really be a variant. So, several variants of a product may coexist.
Here is a very interesting example; sometime back Indian Airlines had put into use the
reservation system and they wanted to do away with the concept of the wait list number,
so they gave each particular passenger some pin, pan, kind of a number and at any point
of time you had to only say whether that particular number you had in your position had come up. But people found that this particular thing
was not accepted years together they were used to the concept that you go to Indian
Airlines and they tell you that your wait list number is 36 and if you check after two
hours expect the wait list number to go down but not up and kind of a thing and when the
call is made for the people who are waitlisted it is easier for them to conceive that “waitlist
number 1 please come forward and check in” rather than saying that some p28396252 to
come in and check in. So in this particular case they would have
to make the different variants of this particular product if that company was supplying that
sort of software. Like these different problems may exist in different countries. So we have
versions and we have variants. Now we have another particular concept that
we need to understand and that is a concept of base line.
What is a base line? Base line refers to a set of configuration
items which together depict a product at a specific point of time. Let us take an example of Microsoft Office
kind of a product. The numbers that I am mentioning may not be correct but I am just illustrating
on a particular thing. So suppose you had a Office 97 and then you
had a Office 2000 and you had other versions and when you had Office 97 in the market Office
97 consisted of an excel and a word and a power point and so many other particular pieces
and each of these products themselves may not have been at the same version. So you might have one product at version five
and another at version nine and the third one at version 6 and we say these together
constituted one particular product. And when we went to the next product some products
might have undergone three version changes and another product may not have gone any
version change at all. So the new base line would consist of the
current versions of all the products that are involved.
So, base line is a set of configuration items which together depict the product. Associated
with each base line in addition to the item may also be a build sequence. Build sequence is the sequence in which you
put the product together. typically when you are installing a software all these functions
are performed by a utility called quote and quote install and when you say install this
utility goes and picks up the right components from the right place and puts them in your
machine at the right place. And in case it finds that a particular number
or component number or something is missing then it gives you an error message saying
that such and such file is not available or something like that. So the build sequence of putting the items
together makes it a working product. Remember what you are doing in a build, you are making
a collection of items and putting them together to make and look like a single particular
item. So the base lines are tested and certified
version of a particular product and only approved items are accepted into the base line. Making
a change to a base line has to go through a very controlled and documented kind of a
procedure. Now let us look at the slide. Conceptually
let us look at what is the base line. So what you see here is you have identified
a series of items. Remember, all the items in a particular product may not get identified
at time one. Typical example would be that, at the time when you are doing the requirements
you obviously do not even know which source codes are going to exist, you have not yet
made a higher level design so you do not even know which components are going to exist.
But your policy says that each source code will be a CI and a corresponding object code
will be your CI and so on and so forth. So what happens is, the items namely the requirements,
specifications and all that may become available early in the game and things like design,
coding, test data and test reports all these things may become available as you progress. Suppose you have to make a beginning and we
say suppose we had item 1, 2, 3 with us so we make a base line and we say to begin with
it is a starting base line, we say version 1.1 of item number one and version 2.2 etc,
actually the version particular part for item 2 is just for convenience has been depicted
as 2.1 and version 3.1, it is not meant to be version 3.1. So we have items and corresponding to it we
have the versions. So you have 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 as the changing versions of item 1 and
similarly we have changing versions for the same. After a pre-determined time when you wanted
to take another particular base line item 4 had also come into existence. Item number
1 had undergone two changes, item number 2 and 3 had undergone one change of version
and of course the item number 4 came into existence for the first time so your next
particular base line is going to be V 1.3 and V 2.2 and V 3.2 and 4.1. Similarly when you go a little left, now as
you go deeper into the project you will find that the changes to the initially defined
items may not be as serious or may not be as frequent whereas the subsequent items may
undergo changes. So the third particular base line has this
particular collection of items and then you have the fourth and the fifth base line and
all that. So the schematic depiction of the base lines
is shown in this particular fashion. We ask a very simple question; when do we do the
base line? You look at your old photograph album and
you say do you have many of your photographs in your albums, you say yes over your lifetime
you have several photographs right starting from the first one in your birthday suit to
all along you have lots of photographs taken at different instances. Now you might ask a simple question; when
do you take these photographs which are like line marked photographs and you will say yes
may be one was done somewhere down the line when you were born and then another one was
taken at a very important occasion when you went to school the first time and when you
got through the college and then another one when you got married and may be your children
and so on and so forth kind of a thing. But by the same particular token typical application
development base lines are; first is the initial base line of the project that is when you
start the project you identify all the items that are handed over to you as .0 is the first
particular base line. Then we ask when is the next appropriate time,
so it is like asking, in case you are going to take your picture once in five years would
you take it on any day of the year or may be you prefer to take it on your birthday
or some specific day which you tend to remember easily or something like that. Similarly another good point to take a base
line is when the sis is complete and accepted so via srs base line We may take another base line for completion
of design. Now we do not have a base line for completion of coding for a simple reason
that all coding never gets completed at the same time. So the next base line that we have is when
the integration of the product is done. that is, the first time when all components are
put together the entire product looks like and functions like a single system and then
this particular system is subjected to testing namely the system testing, acceptance testing
etc. So whenever the product is accepted and the
product is handed over to the customer, like saying you wind up a particular product then
you make it an acceptance base line. Similarly in case you had a convergence project
then the base lines would be like initial source base line will be there then a filtered
source line etc. Filtered source line is passing all the source
codes that you received through a program to alter it to the target environment which
probably will do may be 85, 95% of your work and the remaining few percent of the work
you will have to do it manually. So, once that work is done you will have a converted
base line. And last but not the least when you release
the product you will have a release base line. Therefore the configuration base lines are
very important from software project’s point of view. The next particular thing that we want to
understand is configuration control. What do we understand in configuration control?
It involves evaluation, coordination, approval or disapproval and implementation of changes
to the configuration items. How is it organized?
Look at the diagram. The simple thing is, on one side you have the work area and on
the other side you have the customer and the third party and we see that no job will ever
leave the work area and directly find its way to the customer, it must always go through
a CM configuration control. What that particular thing means is, any work
from the work area will go to CM if required it will be re-issued to the work area and
this process may continue as appropriate and in appropriate time you will have this particular
product being delivered out to the customer or third party or whoever it is. In the controlled area you have a CI library
and Metadata. What is a CI library? CI library is the physical place where the storing of
configuration items takes place and the Metadata is about the data. Now let us look at the CI library. For instance,
if you are doing a convergence project your software components may reside in two machines.
So your CI library now will be one logical library but two physical libraries; one on
one machine and another on another machine. The same thing may happen in case you are
working on a multi-site kind of a contract. You may have one particular CI library at
one’s location and another one at another particular location. Then you have problems like some of them are
software components but there are lots of non software components which also need to
be put under configuration control. These could be physical documents like contract
and so on and so forth. Those particular documents will also be a part of the CI library but
probably it may sit in a cupboard. We have lots of other things.
Suppose the hardware for a particular project has been supplied by the customer and keeping
track of that is a particular problem then the physical hardware may also technically
become a part of the library. So we have configuration control mechanism for that. So the configuration
control mechanism starts by operating with the initiation from a defect report. So you get either a defect report from the
development team or you have a change request that comes from the customer. So each of these particular reports will consist
of several items like configuration item identity, the date that defect was found, the description
of the defect, the effect of the defect, the action taken to contain or recover from the
defect like what is the suggested solution, what is the urgency of the problem and all
kinds of things. Similarly a change request may also say which
one is the item that needs to be changed or added, date of request, the descriptions,
the reasons for request and the likely effect on the change etc. So, all these particular things will be initiating
that particular one. Once we have got that how does the physical change control process
operates? For that let us look at the slide again. Hence
we begin with a change request. Once we got the change request what we need
to do is first to identify and record the request in some kind of a request log. So request log will have a list of all the
change requests that we have lodged with a particular product. Once we have got this
log the next particular thing is somebody has to sit and do impact analysis and approve
whether or not this particular change is worth it. So, performing impact analysis and approval
or otherwise is the next job. So this particular job is called change impact forms and you
would like to make sure that this particular change which has been suggested is it worth
doing, what is its implication and so on and so forth. If you approve the change the next thing that
you do is, the item to be modified is checked out from the CS the Configuration Store. Once
you do the change in the Metadata you will mark that this particular item has been issued
for modification. Once you mark the Metadata another copy of
the same particular item cannot be accidentally issued to another particular person so you
are not likely to have a problem that two people working differently on the same component
make a modification. Once you got this particular modification
done then the person who did the modification needs to make sure that the change was made
correctly the way it was supposed to be made. So, adequate amount of reviews and testing
will have to be performed at the corresponding reports generated. Once that change will be
made probably the next thing is to accept the change in to the store and make changes
to the Metadata. This particular thing may look trivial but
it is not, it is like how many times we had a packing list which was different from the
contents of the box and the answer is very simple, by the same token the developer may
tell you that he is submitting version 1.8 of a particular component and what accompanies
in the accompanying file is a version 1.7 or such particular problems can happen. So once we have the change check in then the
corresponding version number is also changed in that particular thing. Once you have done that we close the change
request and we write so in the log saying that the change request has been implemented.
And last but not the least once that has been done we intimate all concerned that the change
xyz has actually been made. And important entry in the change control
procedures and configuration management procedures is the concept of Change Control Board which
is often called as CCB. Change Control Board is the formal group which
is responsible for approving and of course otherwise rejecting the change request.
Please understand all the change requests are not of same particular priority and the
analogy like the car not starting is a category A problem which means immediate fixing and
that the car not having a headlight or the horn or they are getting stuck in a particular
gear that means it works but not to full performance level would be the second particular level
and the third would be having a scratch on the paint.
You will say yes, whenever the car goes for repair around such kind of changes can be
taken care of that point of time. So the CCB’s decision to accept or reject
a change is not merely dependent on your giving a request and the genuineness of the request
because the CCB has to take into account several considerations. The primary function of the CCB is to provide
guidelines for preparing the change request, how to make it then providing the guidelines
for evaluating the change request and last but not the least managing the implementation
of approved changes. So CCB may have procedures for retrospective
handling changes also. Take a simple example; if there is an emergency
kind of a change somebody may be authorized to make that particular change on the spot
and take the approval from the CCB retrospectively. Even this kind of thing can happen in a live
production environment if something goes down and need immediate fixing then such a extreme
action may have to be taken. There may also be a concept of automatic approval for predefined
categories of changes. Take a simple example; suppose we have a screen
and in this particular screen the template of the format has some spelling mistake say
name has been spelled as instead of n a m e you are spelled it n m a e and obviously
such thing needs a change. But making this change is not going to have
any impact on the cost or schedule or any other customer relationship related kind of
problems or impact on the quality then we say that the approval of such a request can
be easily done at a lower level than the CCB. These changes need to be documented but at
the same time they need not go all the way up to CCB and the designator’s authority may
be allowed or authorized to make some particular change. that brings us to another question;
is CCB is a board or is it a single entity and the answer is again, it depends, in case
there is a small project then CCB is a single person entity and if it is a very large project
then CCB will be group of people or it may have a hierarchy under it. If it is a multi site project you may have
two power centers like we say in politics two power centers and CCB may be split at
two locations. So please remember, CCB is the authority which
decides whether to or not to make a change, when to make a change and at what appropriate
point of time these particular changes need to be released. So, once we have done these particular changes
the next particular thing is change control commentation. How do we make sure that all
concern people have been intimated that the change has happened? The responsibility of making sure that the
change is communicated to everybody basically rests with the project manager. The project manger is responsible for integrating
all changes and making sure that all concerned know about it. It is important to make sure that all concerned
person are in sink about the latest project’s information. No two people should think that
they are working with respect to two different components or two different versions of the
same components and so on and so forth. There are many mechanisms which are used for
communicating the changes to all concerned. You may have e-mails, www kind of situations
or you may have special group of mails being sent to people depending on the kind of change
that has happened or certain special project management software may also facilitate tracking
and communicating the changes to the software component. Once we got done with the change control the
next particular aspect that we are talking about is configuration status accounting. Configuration status accounting involves recording
and reporting the information needed for effective management of configuration. For instance, we might want to know the list
of approved configuration identifications, at any one point of time what is the current
identification what are the current CIs, you might want to know which CI is in which version,
how frequently are the versions changing for a particular CI, too many or frequent changes
to CI indicates that there is something wrong, either somebody is not doing a good job in
doing the initial specification or somebody is not doing a good job of review and that
the half-baked kind of products are going to fill and once such a product goes to fill
it keeps coming back like the old notes and coins being circulated faster than the new
ones and by the same particular token you will have this thing. So you may also want to know how many requests
have been received ,of what severity they are and severity is only one particular thing,
how many have been checked out, how many are in process work and how many have been completed
and returned. And if you look here in the slide, once we
have developed this configuration kind of a status accounting system then the next particular
thing is that it will help you in answering questions. It is the management’s responsibility
to answer this. Just to remind you about the old saying that
“planning is everything plan is nothing by the same particular token; you need to ask
question based on the past changes, what kind of changes you anticipate in the future. if you were to ask a question like what are
the various versions of the CIs that we are having, how many CIs were open or closed,
what CIs are being modified and by whom and how many CIs were completed then these kinds
of questions can be answered from the database that you are going to be using for status
accounting. So, configuration status reports should be
generated on a regular basis and also provide a Adhoc facility for inquiries. This particular thing is what we do, once
we got the configuration status accounting then the next thing we worry about is configuration
audit. What is configuration audit? We have already seen what is audit. Why do we have audit? To prevent delivery
of a wrong product to the customer, to track incomplete implementation with reference to
the original specifications and agreed changes, make sure that the agreed changes are made
and stay made to confirm that the CIs have been appropriately base lined.
Again base lining is, when the product is rechecked it does not mean it automatically
gets base lined. Take a simple example; suppose you were to
make a change to a component about payroll system in the month of February you might
under circumstances want to hold back to this particular item and say I will issue this
item in the next base line only which will be put into implementation from 1st of April
the change of the financial accounting year. Therefore such decisions may be there when
the base line is ready. Another very important thing that you need to remember is that, when
you have this data if required you should be able to back track from the proposed change
or made change back to the original version as required. So we need to have audits to confirm that
the CS has been properly base lined, to confirm that the documentations maintain the traceability
between the old and the new. Technically speaking the CI library must be
in position of all the old versions of all the components. There is a very but for a
variety of reasons if you could retain as many of them as possible it is going to be
very essential. Therefore configuration audit ensures that,
first checking whether all components are complete and correct and no pending issues
are there in terms of identification and logging in and so on and so forth and verify that
the integrity of the base line is maintained that what you say in your configuration status
or accounting system as to where you are with respect to the base lines and the component
versions, in reality that is what you are putting in practice. So the practices and procedures that we have
laid down are they being rigorously followed or not is one of the important aspects that
you need to look at in configuration audit. If you look at the slide now we say configuration
audit is independent. It is an independent quality control; it is
not a quality control activity but quality control like activity that helps in ensuring
that the quality is maintained and the changes are made the way they are supposed to be made. It is conducted to enable demonstration of
accuracy, integrity, completeness and disallows any invalid claim about that particular product.
These aspects are very important to know from our particular point of view. We have discussed about the four functions.
The last thing we discussed is the configuration management plan. Typically in software development organization
you could have a single project plan or you could have project plan supported by knowledge
areas, as we have mentioned eight knowledge areas and if the project is large each knowledge
area may itself evolve into a separate plan by itself. But many times all the knowledge areas may
not be equally well represented. But the two knowledge areas which are very strongly represented
in any project plan normally are quality assurance and configuration management. So quality assurance and configuration management
plans in their own right may either be separate plans or annexure of a main project plan or
may be associated as some sections of the project plan. The project plans basically have a specific
objective. It helps the managing of the software development activity; it protects the configuration
items from intruders and against accidental wipe out. of course protecting against intruders
is more difficult and protecting against accidental wipe out can be done a little more thoroughly. And last but not the least you will have to
facilitate reporting on the state or stages of the project. So the project manager on
an on-going basis in the project review will get a good idea as to how the configuration
management progress is being presented. So, CMP basically specifies who, where, when,
how etc. All these will perform the CM functions. So in this particular aspect you will be having
a configuration management plan. So, the configuration management plan will typically
tell you how to perform the following activities. First, how do you perform configuration identification,
what constitutes an item. Now take a simple example; again it is a little
repetition, suppose we have six volumes of a user manual do they constitute a single
CI or is it six CIs and the answer is depending on how you intend to use it.
If you always plan to keep all the six together and issue and collect them or whatever you
do with them together then it is a single item. And in case you want to use them individually
or they get modified individually then it becomes a separate CI. So you will have to answer many questions
like you have a simple thing like programs specification, source code, you have an object
code, you have a test data input files, test data output files and so on and so forth. How do you break them up into configuration
items? Somebody has to give a clear guideline as to how to identify an item.
So first is to decide what will and what will not be considered as a CI. Once you have said what will not be you will
say who will decide what is the CI, who will give it a name, number and so on and so forth. Next thing is you will have to specify how
configuration base lines are defined, identified, considered for recording and how they are
deployed. This includes, in case you need to have a
back tracking then this particular back tracking will also have to be done. Another important part is maintenance of configuration
library, both the physical library and maintaining the Metadata, both these particular things
will have to be done. So who will do it, who is responsible, who will authorize, who will
issue, who will take back, who will make sure that what is being supplied back or issued
out is what you say you are issuing out or supplied back. Access control and change control to the configuration;
who is authorized, who is not authorized to suggest, request, make changes.
Then status accounting, again all these things are there, how to perform, who will perform,
where it will perform, when it will perform is all we are answering. Like every other particular software project
back up you need to take back up of the configuration libraries also. That again is whether you
want to keep it like disaster recovery or you want to keep it at the same place or at
a remote site etc kind of issues are involved in specifying how to take a back up control. Your procedures, standards, tools used also
is very simple, which procedure will be used, which standard etc.
Suppose we have decided that you are going to take a starting base line, SIS base line
and development designed base line and integration base line and end of the project base line
etc you may have a concern that for a large project these activities may take long and
in which case you might have a procedure or a practice which say that after initial base
line take the SIS base line. But if that duration exceeds three months then in any case take
one base line every three months and then take it at appropriate end of this. Similarly standards will have to be specified
like how the items are identified, numbered and all kinds of things where they are kept,
then the tools which are used, lots of beautiful configuration management tools are available
and these tools can be used for checking items in, items out, storing versioning and all
kinds of things. Last but not the least you have the organizational
structures and the authorities that are there under the configuration management framework. Because configuration management activity
also requires its own resources, its organizational structures, authorities and so on and so forth.
Last but not the least we will have to do the referencing of all the particular documents
and from that particular point of view you will have to say that this is how we actually
do this particular job. So, if you were to look at this kind of a
configuration management functions then we can now summarize and say that the configuration
management function basically consists of five major activities namely configuration
identification, configuration control, configuration accounting (status accounting), configuration
audit and organizing for configuration management.

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  • Reply Roopashri Satish November 23, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Very precisely defined SCM, Appreciate Prof Kelkar. Great job

  • Reply Roopashri Satish February 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Great job, v good presentation

  • Reply krazzy pig September 27, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Best lecture

  • Reply krishnarajan lakshanya May 30, 2018 at 4:02 am

    what are the main processes in Configaration management?

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