Configuration and Change Management
We received some questions about how configuration management and change management work together. Configuration management is a component of the change management process. The business requirements or demands drive the scope, which is a project management function (requirements elicitation and control of scope). On completion of the elicitation, we have the scope baseline for the product. We develop the product to meet those requirements. The release schedule and feature content at those releases are largely a product function (including configuration management), with influence from the customer (business) via the project management functions—for example prioritizing the feature delivery. If there are no changes, the configuration management functions work throughout the project on this scope.
Product changes require a revisit of the scope; for example:
- Does this change affect the original objective for the project and product?
- Was this work called out in our work breakdown structure?
Control of the delivery to this plan would be considered configuration management. We will answer questions such as:
- How will we deliver the new packages?
- What will be in each package?
- When will we deliver each package for testing? (Also part of project management schedule.)
Any change that would affect the scope will require the change management process to start within the project.
- What is the proposed change?
- What configuration management changes are required (control, identification, accounting, auditing)?
- What does it take to accept this change (money and time and risk)?
- Do we accept this deviation from money and schedule (risk)?
Once the project manager and relevant, designated stakeholders accepts the change, we now have configuration management mode for the product. Those actions we defined in the change request (including the configuration management aspects) we then execute.
To further highlight the difference between change and configuration management, consider that we have some changes that receive no configuration management per se; for example, aging of the product. Aging is a natural function in reality and it isn’t controllable.