organisation as to what information is of value. It can be very useful to have an indication of criticality for example, and this will depend on the requirements for each organisation. Some applications/systems are internal only and not many people will be affected if there are problems. However, if component of a public facing web site is down that can have very serious implications for the organisation including financial implications and damage to reputation.
Audit - but not the type you were expecting
The increased need for control, particularly SoX in financial organisations, brings the need for a catalog into sharper focus. It further increases the pressure on CM to become the central point of knowledge. Geoff has continued his 'spreadsheet' concept into other organisations to provide summary output for external auditors. IT Service Managers are delighted when they can prove to the auditors that they are truely in control of their systems. Have we moved on from 'configuration audits' to 'service audits'?
How Do You Get Started?
The easiest place is to start at the top! Senior management very quickly understand the power and usefulness of such concepts, and will provide the necessary resources and backup to make it happen.
In order to persuade senior management, a prototype with a few fields is incredibly effective. This takes some initiative on your own part. The idea then being to pass control to a 'real owner'. Very often you wont get management buyin without showing them an example of what they are missing.
There is a role as an "information collector/disseminator", but you need to remember that this is not the same as being responsible for deciding which changes should be implemented when.
The principles described here are fairly simple, and yet are often not done well within organisations. It may not be in your job description as a CM person, but it is an area where you can definitely add value, and indeed help to educate the organisation about the value of CM and its principles.
It may not on the surface seem particularly agile or lean related, but we think it conforms to both those principles. CM is not just a dry and dusty academic discipline, its principles are foundation stones for successful organisational management.
We've all seen the problems caused by lack of clear identification, change control and status recording - let's get out into our organisations and improve communication and coordination. As the Japanese would say: Gambatte!