Configuration Status Accounting
Once we are using a configuration management (CM) system, how do we ascertain the status of our engineering change? Configuration status accounting (CSA) is the method by which we accomplish this record tracking. We can get software support by using a dedicated tool or implementing a dedicated database that tracks what we want tracked:
- Approved/rejected CM documentation
- Approved/rejected identification information
- Status of proposed changes
- Deviations (approved change that is not at the level of an engineering change proposal)
- Waivers (customer authorization to proceed with a part that does not meet requirements—often written after the fact)
- Implementation status
We suspect managers that are invested in a change will want to use the implementation status to discern where their proposal lies in the continuum of CM actions.
Note that CSA also provides a means for determining CM performance, since we can track progress as the change percolates through the system. We should maintain current, accurate information regarding change decisions, design changes, variances, probes into design problems, warranties, and shelf and operating life calculations. This comprehensive compendium of product configuration information should systematized, catalogued and available. We should also be able to pull historical information, particularly if we are plotting performance over time.