Assessing CM in the Development Process

[article]
Summary:
Is configuration management (CM) integrated into your development process? Do you have a good way to assess this? Do you have a process to improve the situation? Development without CM will eventually lead to lost code, delays in release schedules, and regression in functionality (amongst other negative impacts). The purpose of this article is to lay out a set of steps that can help assess the level of CM in the current development process (and environment), then identify ways to improve the situation.

Is configuration management (CM) integrated into your development process? Do you have a good way to assess this? Do you have a process to improve the situation? Development without CM will eventually lead to lost code, delays in release schedules, and regression in functionality (amongst other negative impacts). One could say if the "tower of development" does not have CM bands to keep it together, this structure becomes the Tower of Babel, doomed to fail. But enough depressing talk. What can CM professionals do to make the development world a better place? How can CM professionals make CM improvement efforts collaborative so that development team feels involved, engaged, and heard?

Guidance is on the way! The purpose of this article is less a narrative of CM and the development process, and more of a set of steps that can help assess the level of CM in the current development process (and environment), then identify ways to improve the situation.

Step 1: Assessment
Like most improvement efforts, the first step in the process should be assessing the current state of CM within the development process. This provides valuable information about what is occurring within the development process from a CM perspective. While these questions focus on the key areas of CM, feel free to tailor these questions. Consider moving these questions into a spreadsheet and adding an answers column where you can put what you found as well as any thoughts for improvement and a rating column where you provide a score as to areas that are in better shape and the areas that need improvement (this can be helpful in sorting later on).

The Questionnaire
The questionnaire is divided into sections. Again, feel free to tailor.

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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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