This article describes what most Managers need to know about Configuration Management (CM), in terms of its impact on the overall business. CM is a broad discipline that helps the software (or systems) development team manage all of the components that go into creating a product. It is common for CM to be viewed from either a Project or Product perspective and one should always view Configuration Management from the perspective of how it can impact the business. CM can enhance productivity and quality, as well as have a major impact upon organizational success. But the reality is that most Managers learn about CM when there is a problem and the organization suffers as a result. Below is a description of some industry best practices that will help your team achieve success!
CMI provides services and support to a wide array of organizations who want to improve their Configuration Management approach and practices. Please feel free to contact us.
Source Code Management - Source Code Management involves establishing the controls necessary to ensure that your code is never lost or deleted. This practice is sometimes called Version Control, although today's modern Source Code Management tools employ features and processes that are much more robust than legacy Version Control Systems (VCS). It is essential that your team have robust Code Management practices in place to protect your valuable assets. Source Code Management best practices will have an immediate impact on your software development team, helping them to improve productivity and quality.
Release Management - Release Management puts much needed structure around the processes required to develop, test and release complex software systems to the production environment (which may be deploying software to your valued customers). Some organizations have Release Management functions that handle a wide spectrum of Configuration Management chores. Others have them strictly focused on packaging the release and preparing the automation needed for application deployment. There are many excellent industry practices and your team would benefit from staying informed on industry recommended standards and frameworks for release management. CMI can help you take advantage of industry best practices!
Change Control - Change Control adds much needed structure around the chaos of managing changes to complex mission critical software systems. Your organization should have an effective Change Control Board (CCB) with a clearly defined mission and scope of authority. Some organizations find it best to have more than one CCB, often with different levels of authority and focus.
Software Asset Management - Unfortunately, many companies do not manage their essential corporate assets in a way that is efficient and accurate. For example, knowing how many printers and fax machines are in operation is just as important as knowing whether or not you have software to support essential business analytics can result in both significant loss and missed opportunities. The ITIL v3 framework gives excellent guidance on these best practices including Software Asset Management. Software Asset Management (SACM) can help you manage your valued assets more effectively. At CMI, we can help implement ITIL practices including SACM along with implementing Configuration Management Systems (CMS), Configuration Management Databases (CMDB) and Definitive Media Libraries (DML) using industry best practices.
Build Engineering - Build Engineering creates reliable and repeatable processes that helps the development team build, package and release their code. The build engineering function can help improve programmer productivity as well as safeguard the organization's valued resources.
At CMI we look forward to being your partner in helping you to improve your Configuration Management processes.