Elements of Configuration Management


Figure 1. The sections of CM

Over the program life cycle, CM is divided into several sections as given in Figure 1. CM includes 1) Configuration Management, 2) Configuration Identification, 3) Configuration Control, 4) Configuration Verification, and 5) Configuration Accounting sections.

Configuration Management: This section identifies the core CM activities and its relationships to other sections. DAU accepts this section as an overarching activity used to plan and execute CM in an upper level. This section should focus on throughout the CM process. The Key outputs of the CM section should include information that will be used in Requests for Proposals and Contracts. These outputs should include CM planning information and Statement of Work/Statement of Objective language.

Configuration Identification: Creating, documenting and releasing the documentation describing the baseline and how changes will be controlled and released. This documentation includes requirements, processes, procedures, materials, specifications and drawings. Part numbers, serial numbers, lot numbers, version numbers, document control numbers, etc. will be assigned during the identification step. Configuration Identification is detailed in Section 5 in MIL-HDBK-61A Configuration Management Guidance.

Configuration Control: This step is the act of controlling baseline changes through configuration control boards (CCBs). This is an important process and usually has high visibility as the project manager will chair the CCBs depending on the level of CCB. CCBs may have a hierarchy. For example, a change to Part A (located in component A) affects Component B and has a cost impact for the program. This type of change would go through a CCB with component A. Once approved, it would go through a CCB with Component A and Component B. Once approved, it would go through a final CCB with the project manager for approval.

Configuration Verification: “the process of verifying that resulting products (e.g., hardware and software items) conform to the intentions of the designers and to the standards established by preceding approved baselines, and that baseline documentation is current and accurate.” This is accomplished through periodic audits and technical reviews. The purpose is to reconcile the current documentation against the baseline documentation plus CRs, As-Designed/As-Built (AD/AB), or any other applicable configuration documentation during that period.

Configuration Accounting: “maintaining, correlating, releasing, reporting, and storing configuration data.” This task is generally handled by administrative positions or data management teams. The configuration accountant will assign unique IDs to CRs, ECPs, deviations, waivers, etc. and document and store the information so that it may be compared against the baseline.