CM as Communication and Coordination Enabler

This article includes some of the material that Geoff Thorpe presented at a BCS CMSG event where he discussed the control of applications using change management, release management, and configuration management techniques. He discusses applications control from a hardware and software perspective.

It has long been recognized that these terms are not necessarily very clear to developers, project managers and others within your organization. There have been some recent discussions in the CM Crossroads forums about terminology and the CMBok (Body of Knowledge) has resurfaced with Mark Bools trying to prod things along.  I encourage this work.

Some of the classic signs of poor CM practices and processes can include:

  • Being unclear as to what the status of particular artifact is, including a software module or an application.
  • Which is the master version?
  • Which version was released and when?
  • Why was a particular change made?
  • What was the precise change made?
  • If something needs changed, what process needs to be followed?

This brings Rudyard Kipling's short poem to mind: 


I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.


An Application/Service Catalog

One important aspect of CM is being clear about the documentation of what you are responsible for. ITIL refers to this as the service catalog.It may seem like a simple and obvious concept, but can be surprisingly difficult in practice, and many organizations are not in very good shape.



About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at or visit and follow his blog at

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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