Project Management tools are not everything, but…

Why do we use tools?

We use tools to make our lives better. It would not be very fun to hammer a nail into wood with our hand.   Imagine the situation if we continued communicate via pony express. Sometimes, when we are not aware a tool exists, we may try to fabricate something.  We make tools out of available spread sheet programs or documentation writing programs.  I have worked at a globally distributed company that had a multiplicity of tools, some custom built and some even more unique.  These tools were used by a variety of constituent companies and none of these tools worked together well and some team members did not have access to some tools or the contents.  It was clear that a single Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) tool would have gone far in managing the work better.  That is why I was, perhaps not as shocked as I should have been when I came upon this report … Continue reading

Product Development and Configuration Management

Software Process and Measurement Cast podcast, Tom Cagley and Jon M. Quigley

Configuration Management: Theory, Practice, and Application

Configuration Management is a common thread that ties the various departments and organizations together, facilitating coordination of effort. 

Evolution of the Product Through Configuration Management

Joe Dager’s Business901 podcast with Jon M. Quigley

Evolution of the Product Through Configuration Management

Product Management and Project Management Intersect at Configuration Management


Testing, failures and inability to duplicate.

Testing and Repeat-ability 

Repeat-ability of testing results is important to establishing cause and corrective actions. If it is not possible to repeat the sequence of events leading to a failure, it is not possible to replicate and therefore difficult solve the cause of the fault or failure.  The steps that evoked the problem are necessary to replicating the problem – only sometimes that seemingly does not work.

Testing and Configuration Management

Things like a specific system configuration may be implicated in the failure, testing to find a failure on one configuration after having found the problem on another configuration, does not mean the failure does not exist.  This is another link between testing and configuration management.

Repeating the test with some fidelity requires documenting the test steps with some diligence as well as trace-ability of the test specimen, all parts are not created equal.  When it comes to software or embedded products the latter is very true as it is … Continue reading

Configuration Management Book



Early Reviews

Just finished reading Configuration Management: Theory, Practice and Application, and I must say this is the most comprehensive document I have ever read on the subject. It addresses theory, practice, and application, with many real-world examples of what happens when the principles of product/configuration management are not followed! —Bill Dawson, SVP Product Management, Volvo Group

… the definitive guide to configuration management. No configuration manager should be caught without a copy of this book. … explores not only the technical aspects of the field, but the practical applications of configuration management in a wide variety of industries not just the technology field. —Joe Townsend, Configuration Manager, Indiana Public Retirement System

… captures the essence and significance of configuration management. It provides the framework, tools, and practices that will enable any enterprise to successfully create and manage a framework for CM in a mass customization world. … A much-needed book and discussion at a critical time in … Continue reading

Intention and Follow Through

The Civil War

It was the United States Civil war, the battle was Gettysburg.  There was no doubt, General Meade had the intention to defeat Robert E. Lee.  In the end General Meade was victorious and his congratulatory order to the troops was also sent by telegraph to the War Department (and would be read by Abraham Lincoln). The crux of the message was the invaders had been driven from our soil.

Later, President Lincoln would meet with General Mead:

Do you know, General, what your attitude towards Lee after the battle of Gettysburg reminded me of?” Meade replied: “No, Mr. President – what is it?” Lincoln said: “I’ll be hanged if I could think of anything else but an old woman trying to shoo her geese across a creek[1].

Follow Through

In the President’s mind, Meade had left the job unfinished.  He had not pursued the rebels after the battle.  General Mead had good intentions, … Continue reading

Concurrent Engineering Problem Part 2

Concurrent engineering problem take many forms

From our last blog, we have learned that of an organization that has concurrent engineering difficulty, specifically coordinating the design work.  We will further explore this situation.  One of the subsystem groups decides to improve the coordination effort internal to that specific department. For example, System 1 chooses to focus on their handling of the design coordination internal to that department. This is not a bad idea, as there are some inefficiencies and losses due to ineffectual coordination of the various subsystem designs. 



There is another problem area, and that is the coordination of the systems that comprise the entirety of the product.  Below is a graphic that illustrates this other area lacking coordination.


Where to start?

The trick is to understand the best area upon which to focus the finite resources.  A short sample period, a portion of one large project, provides and example of the costs due to errant … Continue reading

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