Understanding Configuration Management




I really need help to understand Configuration Management. Can someone help me in a simple way to understand the configuration management and share the necessary forms or templates i can use in my organization.

We are the suppliers for aviation industry. I want to understand who is the owner for configuration management. Is it the R&D or production ?

Appreciate an early response.

Elsmar Forum Sponsor


Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
In clear terms it is "revision level control". It entails what you need to do to ensure that what you build is what your customer wants, that is that the agreed configuration (revision level) matches the actual configuration (revision level).

Definition: Configuration Management - What is Configuration Management?

And: Configuration Management - Part history - How to record changes

Existing discussion threads: Configuration Management discussions

Also check out: What is meant by "Configuration Management"?


Thanks for those inputs guys.To the second part of my question, typically with whom the responsibility of CM lies,is it R&D or Production ?

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
The CM process ownership can reside in different functions, but for design-responsible organizations, Design Engineering tends to have a critical role.


In very simple terms (very very simple) CM is version/revision control. But if you focus on revision control you will miss most of the benefits of CM. I've attached a CM ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES document to help you understand all aspects of CM.

I've run CM within Development, Program Management, QA, Production, Marketing and even as a direct report to the CEO. the most important thing is that CM must act autonomous.




No, Configuration Management (CM) is not just version and revision control, and is definitely more then just change control but is within, as configuration control, the change management process.
I just made a presentation and recently provided to a couple of forums that were debating what CM was, if documents were CIs or and if CM was only version and revision control. Do the research, evaluate and appreciate after reading the below information and check out the significant links.
I?m sharing with you information and several links for definition of CM, its origin, and what it means. Past mistakes have left out much of what is CM, what ?configuration? is and therefore what is a configuration item. In 1983, I was also part of national and international committees to address and development (provide input) standards on the following premise to be discussed and evaluated. If anyone does the research on CM, its origin (it did not begin in the IT commercial environment), the fact that it was a discipline to complement system/software engineering development (specify, document/ mirror the product/system through the life cycle), etc., they would have no problem finding the following information.
?Configuration Management is a discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to (a) identify and document the functional and physical characteristics (configuration) of a configuration item (the system/product) (b) control changes to those characteristics and (c) record and report change processing and implementation status ?? DOD-STD-480 ? (also provides another item) ?audit the Configuration Item (CI) to verify conformance to specifications, interface control documents and other contract requirements.? ?DOD-2167 defines it further for CSCIs.?
?CM is not just version and revision control.

The Key reason it is called a configuration item (and began in the hardware/system engineering environments until software/programs became a concern and had to be controlled and managed accordingly by (CSCI) Standard 2167 and other standards and regulations).

The functional (functionality and capability) and physical (design) characteristics of hardware, firmware, software, or a combination thereof as set forth in technical documentation and achieved in a product.
The documentation is out side of the CI ?

A configuration item is an aggregation of hardware and software that satisfies an end use function and capability and is designated by an organization for separate configuration management
A document is not an aggregation of hardware and software?
What it Means
What It Means? (by its original definition). The projects and programs I had the pleasure of managing throughout my career from systems (hardware, software, etc.), software, and application to infrastructure, had the below perspective.

1. Identifies and technically describes (documented in specifications/documents) the functionality or capability and design of a hardware, software, firmware or database system/product (the CI/CSCI)
2. Controls changes to the baseline descriptions and the product during development and production.
3. Provides status of the changes to the baselined descriptions and product
4. Verifies that the product developed or produced functions or has the capability described in the specification(s) and physically reflects its documented design and ?as built? code/drawings, technical documentation, etc.

Criteria to identify and select CIs: (hopefully improved and expanded as required)
The CM activity (discipline) begins during the proposal activity or at contract award because that is where hardware, system, software (or application), firmware, database configurations items are identified. The selection process is based on the following considerations (now improved and expanded):
1. System Allocation (major functions or capability)
2. Software/Application functionality or capability
3. Data/infor. requirements
4. Each processor
5. Criticality/safety
6. Size (source code lines)
7. Cost/Schedule
8. Quality (i.e., reliability, reusability, maintainability, testability, modularity, etc.)
9. Logistics support
10. Maintenance
After selecting a CI or CSCI (product or products), the type of documentation to specify the product is identified based on contract requirements, standards and specifications. CM continues throughout the product and system life cycle.?

I am working on (or hope an international panel can be established) getting a panel together, a series webinar I will be doing and having the ISO and its US member get involved in the future because we all, in collaboration, have to address the issues that have arisen from all this mess, confusion and debates? Based on this article:
Title: IT Project Management?s Missing Link ? Configuration Management, An Improving but Misunderstood Discipline. Itprofessionalfacilitor.com article.

My concern is what all this has come to and how it leads to projects and programs issues and differences when crossing over to different industries and businesses/companies? I?ve am truly blessed and lucky my success/and teams? continued having applied CM in both environments (government/aerospace and IT commercial) but based on the above information. I continue to educate, and be educated?
I am also the author(Eddie R. Williams) of: Software/Firmware Configuration Management, Within the System Development Process; Subtitle: Management Control and Quality
Content within: Definition of CM, what it means, and recommendations for each CM activity (i.e., Configuration Identification, Control, Status Accounting, and Audits).

Title: Is configuration management your IT project's missing link? TechRepublic article

The Role CM
?and provide another like that talk about the role of CM (and QA/QC) including for Requirements Analsis. Techwell.com article

Thanks, and good luck to all.
"Quality, whether top-down or bottom-up, begins with an individual. ERW


Sorry Jim, when I had to remove significant links, I only provided name only to at least the first one and underlined to emphasize the information since I had just joined your group. But here you go. I attempted to show the link but it was rejected because I did not have 10 or greater posts. So just put the common http and www indicators in front of "itprofessionalfacilitator.com". Thanks. If I were permitted to show the other two links I would.

...and by the way, I had all the links inserted (several) but the above applied so I attempted to show what you received.

Although I was provided with the link to your site and information from a concerned IT and Engineering professional, I expect to increase my posts in the future.

Have a good weekend.
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