Approaching the Implementation of CM

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Summary:

When landing an airplane, the approach is considered quite important. If the approach vector is off even by 1%, the plane may careen off the other end of the runway. Also, if the approach is incorrect, effort such as fuel and time is unnecessarily expended and wasted, especially if circling must occur.

 

The same can be said when approaching a CM implementation. While it can be argued that if you miss the approach of a CM implementation by 1%, no one will be hurt; this is true 99.9% of the time. There are cases, though, that if SCM is not correctly approached, then poor configuration identification or an unidentified change may cause serious problems.   These scenarios might include events such as a pacemaker for the heart to work incorrectly, which could lead to serious implications. Also, consider an air traffic control system missing a plane or two, leading to tragic consequences.

Also, like unnecessary circling, when there are limited CM resources, expending effort needlessly can lead to an exhausted and frustrated CM staff. Determining a good CM approach can reduce wasted effort and ensure focus on the appropriate tasks. Now I have your attention, we can discuss what can be done by  CM professionals to improve our chances of effective CM.

Considerations for Approaching a CM Implementation

In the CM professional's everyday life, we are continuously wrestling with where to best place our resources and where to apply the most CM rigor. Typically this is due to the fact that we are resource-strapped, but still believe it is important to provide as appropriate a level of CM rigor that is possible. Or we are in the process of maturing CM within the organization and ergo establishing the need of more comprehensive CM to our management. With this in mind, it is important to consider the way CM is approached so that resources are best applied. In considering an approach, it is important to analyze the task or implementation ahead of us. The outcome of the analysis may help you establish a CM approach. The analysis focuses on the following areas:

 

·       Target level: This involves identifying the target audience of a CM Implementation or task and then preparing an implementation plan to that level. Target levels include the organization, application, or project.

·       Application criticality and risk:   This involves determining the criticality of the application being developed relative to what it is used for and the ramifications of the application not operating as expected. The higher the criticality, the more the CM rigor is needed.

·       Development methodology:   This involves reviewing the high-level categories of development methodologies and determining if they have an impact on how and when CM should be applied.

Let us expand on these items more in-depth below.

Target Level

Target level refers to the level within a workplace in which CM may be implemented and performed. Generally, the 3 levels include the: organization level, the application level, and the project level. It is important to determine the target level before beginning a CM implementation effort, as it will improve the chances of successful implementation and deployment. It is important to identify the life of the output of the task/implementation (deliverables) or consider what the task is focused on. Ways to identify this are:

 

·       Is the deliverable expected to live the duration of an organization or an application?

·       Is the task focused on a project release, an application, or organization?

·       With the results of the bullet item above, who in the organization level, application level, or project level is the primary beneficiary of the task or deliverable and who may help the SCM professional best ensure adoption of the deliverable or completion of the task?

For example, let us say the CM implementation involves establishing a CM policy. First, identify if the

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About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

<strong>Mario Moreira</strong> is a Columnist for the CM Journal, a writer for the Agile Journal, an Author, an Agile and CM expert for CA, and has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the Agile field since 1998. He has experience with numerous CM technologies and processes and has implemented CM on over 150 applications/products, which include establishing global SCM infrastructures. He is a certified ScrumMaster in the Agile arena having implemented Scrum and XP practices. He holds an MA in Mass Communication with an emphasis on communication technologies. Mario also brings years of Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Requirement Management, facilitation, and team building skills and experience. Mario is the author of a new book entitled “<strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0470746637?tag=cmf06-20&amp;camp=213761&amp;cre... Configuration Management for Agile Teams</a></strong>” (via Wiley Publishing). It provides an Agile Primer and a CM Primer, and how to adapt CM practices for Agile Teams. Mario is also the author of the CM book entitled, “<strong><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Software-Configuration-Management-Implementation-R... Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap.</a></strong>” It includes step-by-step guidance for implementing SCM at the organization, application, and project level with numerous examples. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at <a href="http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/">http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/</a>.
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