CM Planning for a Downturn in the Economy


Prioritize the Work
The next action is to prioritize the CM work. The non-discretionary work should rise to the top of the priority list.  The challenge becomes how to prioritize the work in the discretionary work list.  A good formula to use is to indicate the amount of effort in hours to perform the work, include any outgoing costs to the company to initiate or complete the work, and estimate the payback or benefit of completing the work.  For example, a discretionary task may be to automate the build process.  The formula would read:

    • The effort in hours to automate the build process is 160 hours (from planning to designing to scripting to testing)
    • The outgoing costs are none since there are no tools being purchased
    • The benefits in a calendar month frees up 10 hours a week of a Build Engineer's time or 480 hours in a calendar year
    • This means that the effort to complete the task would pay for itself in 4 months leaving 8 effort months in a calendar year available for other work.

Rank the People
If you are in management or leadership, you often get the distasteful task of ranking your people.  However, in my experience, if a CM Manager or Lead does not do it, then someone who has much less knowledge of the CM personnel will do so which can be very dangerous.  If you have been in the CM field long enough, you learn that during a downturn in the economy, cuts can happen to the CM team whether you like it to or not.  Of course staff cuts are typically occurring at all levels so this should be of no surprise.

CM Managers or folks who lead CM teams have to make the hard decision to rank order their staff based on their skills and experience.  A good way to start this process is establish a skills matrix listing the various skills that are needed for CM work and indicate the level of experience the people have.  A simple example of a skills matrix is:

CM Skills Matrix

Employee A

Employee B

Employee C













About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

Mario Moreira 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 “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams” (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, “Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap.” 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

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