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What is Configuration Management? | Video

What is Configuration Management? | Video

When we refer to the configuration of a system, we mean the technical description of a system and how its component parts inter-connect. So, what is Configuration Management?

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Definition of Configuration Management

We define Configuration Management in our free PM Glossary: ‘Be on the Inside. Decode the Jargon of Project Management’, as:

‘Defining, controlling, releasing, changing, documenting, and reporting the configuration items in a system.’

‘Be on the Inside. Decode the Jargon of Project Management’ by Mike Clayton (OnlinePMCourses)

We can think of that system as, for example, a technology solution we are implementing, or as the project itself. In the latter case, configuration management concerns itself with the project scope, quality management, and change control.

Configuration Management and DevOps

However, most often, we are concerned with the configuration of a solution we are building or adapting within our project. Therefore, configuration management is an important DevOps process – DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations.

The purpose of configuration management is to ensure that we can properly track how a system is configured through its whole life, from development to retirement.

Without proper configuration management, we cannot build, test, install, accept, operate, maintain or support the system.

Configuration Management Data

A big part of it is tracking changes, so we need to collect and structure a lot of data, such as:

  • Date
  • Version number
  • Status
  • Product owner
  • Features
  • Components
  • Connections and interfaces
  • Relationships with other products

Configuration Management Process

It is beyond our scope to look at the methodologies and how we carry out configuration management. However, I will list the five principal components:

  1. Configuration Management Planning
    – to create your CM plan document
  2. Configuration Identification
    – establishing and maintaining a baseline configuration against which changes can e tracked and recorded
  3. Configuration Control
    – like Project Change Control, this is the process of evaluating and accepting or rejecting changes to the configuration
  4. Configuration Status Accounting
    – recording and reporting on the configuration, as it changes
  5. Configuration Verification and Audit
    – independent (or quasi-independent) review of processes, artifacts, and compliance

Configuration Management Tools

As you might expect, there is a big choice of software tools to support configuration management.

Conclusion

For us, as project managers, we need to ensure that our Project Plans include any configuration management plan. It will be part of your scope management process.

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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