Configuration Management (CM) focuses on the product or the deliverables of a project. In IT automation systems, you can use CM for hardware, software, and network configurations.
In essence, CM is a set of the best working practices that deal with initial design as well as the subsequent changes you make to produce deliverables in the project.
Configuration management is all about documenting the components of a product and establishing a connection between them. CM can effectively ensure whether a change in one component has an impact on the others. In other words, configuration management is closely linked to change control.
It’s important to know the basics of CM in order to leverage it for your business. Here are some of its definitive elements.
1. Configuration Planning
Planning is all about deciding the level of configuration management a project requires and laying out a detailed plan to achieve it.
The plan needs to describe specific projects, along with their application. It also needs to identify the roles and the responsibilities allotted throughout the lifecycle of a project.
2. Configuration Identification
Configuration identification specifies and evaluates the components of the final deliverable or product. It identifies where certain components fit and interact with other components by showing:
- The items included in configuration management
- What the product components include
- What is the configuration of the product components
- The versions of the configuration items
3. Configuration Control
Configuration control consists of product management and related documentation. It ensures that you can effectively control all the changes you make to the configuration items.
Configuration control works together with change control to help you achieve the results you desire. The process continues throughout the life cycle of the product and takes the following into consideration:
- What are the controlled items?
- How do you control the changes?
- Who controls the changes?
- Does someone register the change requests upon receiving them? You need to store this information in the configuration file.
- Has someone thoroughly assessed the proposed changes?
- Have you informed the person who requested the decisions?
- Does the updated plan have all the detailed information?
4. Configuration Status Accounting
This step involves the recording, as well as the reporting, of the deliverable and its configuration information throughout its lifecycle.
Status accounting helps track the modifications you make to the configuration items, and you can request it when you need to make an important decision in a project stage. In a nutshell, status accounting includes:
- Status of the proposed changes
- Changes that you could have made
- Changes that you did make
- Components that the change affected
5. Configuration Verification and Audit
This process verifies the correctness of the product and its components. It also helps verify the correctness of the configuration status accounting information. It ensures that you have:
- Correctly identified and accounted for each configuration item
- Registered, assessed, approved, tracked and implemented changes correctly
- Measured the effectiveness of the configuration management process
People usually carry out the audit at pre-determined stages. Doing so makes sure that all the configuration items remain where they should be in the terms of lifecycle. It also ensures that there’s visible evidence of the change configuration and the completed testing processes.
It is obvious that without configuration management, it will be difficult for you to figure out changes in the system components with the change in requirements.
Does all of this information seem too complicated?
You can use any of this software or take your pick from other tools for the best CM experience in your business.
Role of Configuration Management in Business
Configuration management plays a key role in project management, audits, and debugging. While there are several benefits of configuration management, the immediate ones include the following.
Configuration management, with the aid of automation, reduces IT staff time.
Reducing User Downtime
CM significantly reduces cyber-attacks, security invasions, system outages, and changes in configuration activities.
When you optimize IT operations, you reduce the costs of software, services, and infrastructure.
If you use it properly, CM effectively enhances the overall accuracy and efficiency of your system.
IT automation and configuration management go hand in hand. There’s an urgent need for organizations and businesses to make way for the best CM practices.
Training your staff will go a long way in ensuring this happens. Have you already implemented CM in your business? Share your views with us!
Latest posts by Dipti Parmar (see all)
- Configuration Management: What It Means for Businesses - September 4, 2017
- 4 Reasons Why Project Management Can Help You Grow - July 10, 2017