What is Configuration Management

There are many different definitions of Configuration management (CM), as can be read at Brad Appleton’s website. I personally like the old and short definition by Susan Darts stemming from the 90-ies:

(Software) CM is a discipline for controlling the evolution of (software) systems

I like this definition because it implies a constant change of the system (evolution), but change in an orchestrated fashion (controlling), requiring distinct knowledge and teaching (discipline) to perform. Without change there is no evolution and there is no need for CM to control it.

The big difference with Project Management (PM) is that PM controls targets, resources and activities over the course of a project, while CM controls the changing system itself. The timespan of PM is a project, while the timespan of CM is the lifespan of a system which lasts until end-of-life (i.e. end-of-evolution) of the system. And when does CM start? Well, as soon as the evolution of the system starts to be controlled, which is at or before the start of a project.
So, CM starts before a project starts and ends until after the project has finished.


About Frank Schophuizen (fschop)

Hi, my name is Frank Schophuizen and I am working as a consultant in CM, Agile and ALM for TOPIC Embedded Systems. I have over 30 years experience in software development in the technology industry, with the last 15 years mainly in process improvement, deployment and integration of methods and tools in the area of Agile (SAFe, Scrum), CM and ALM. I am strongly interested in the complexities of collaboration and integration in multi-project and multi-site organizations. I have worked with various technology companies such as Philips, ASML, NXP and Vanderlande, and with various tool vendors such as Atlassian (e.g. Jira, Confluence),IBM Rational (e.g. ClearCase, Synergy, Jazz products) as well as open source tools (e.g. SVN, Git, Jenkins, Trac, Eclipse). I am living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with my wife. We have 3 adult children. My main hobbies are classical music and photography.
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