Summary

  • Configuration management (CM) plays a vital role in the system life cycle after a functional baseline is achieved.
  • CM is not a task that should be taken lightly or not incorporated in its entirety. It gives the system its traceability and reproducibility while maintaining its integrity.
  • NASA defines CM as “the discipline of identifying and formalizing the functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item at discrete points in the product evolution for the purpose of maintaining the integrity of the product system and controlling changes to the baseline”.
  • CM controls changes to system hardware, software, firmware, processes, instructions and documentation.
  • CM must be implemented after a technical baseline has been established.
  • The Configuration Management Plan (CMP) is partly identified in the SEMP, but the CMP in itself is a full stand alone document.
  • As any other part of a program, the CM function requires up front planning to allow successful implementation.
  • CM provides the who, what, when and where for any change of a baselined item.
  • The technical baseline evolves as the project moves through the life cycle and as it involves the role of CM becomes more critical and involved.
  • The techniques for CM are configuration identification, configuration control, configuration verification and configuration accounting.
  • The purpose of Configuration Control Boards (CCBs) are to evaluate, and approve/disapprove proposed changes to the projects technical baseline.
  • Engineering Change Proposal (ECPs) are written only for Class I CRs.
  • Class II Change Request (CRs) may be major or minor and do not require an ECP. Class II CRs can be approved by the contractor in accordance with (IAW) the established CMP.
  • CRs are the mechanism that drive CCBs.
  • ECPs may be coded accordingly and labeled as emergency, urgent, or routine.
  • CRs must include an effectivity field in order to put the change into effect at the appropriate time/circumstance/unit.
  • Configuration verification is the step in which configuration audits are performed.
  • Configuration accounting is the bookkeeping of CM. It is generally done by the data management team members.
  • The configuration manager heads up the CM efforts for a program. He/she plays a vital function from planning through configuration audits.
  • A self-assessment checklist about CM that has been revised periodically is provided by International Aerospace Quality Group (IAQG) in Supply Chain Management Handbook (SCMH). 

Also see the AAQ topic breakdown for other important topics not covered in this module that relate to CM. These topics include: