Constructing a Configuration Management Best Practice

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may only be limited success with this approach.

To establish an effective best practice, it must be supported from both the senior management level and the grass roots level (and all levels in between). In other words, in order to establish a best practice, it should be established collaboratively. However, do not make the mistake of interpreting this as creating a practice by committee. By collaboration, I mean identify subject matter experts (SMEs) who are on the ground and that know this type of practice well and has insight on what may work. Then look for that practice within the organization that is currently working for a group and harvest this as an example. This is effectively a best practice for that group. However, just because the practice works for a group and is "best" for them, does not mean it will scale to the organization level.

This is where the collaboration of the SMEs comes in. The SMEs can review the examples they have harvested, look for the commonalities, and then adjust it for a broader scope. The SMEs would also ensure that the practice has all appropriate components to ensure a more successful adoption.

The next step would then be to pilot it across several different groups to see if it works effectively in those areas. The goal of the pilot is to identify improvements and to see how much tailoring may be needed for adoption depending on the group size, type, or complexity. After some tweaking, it can be rolled out to a larger audience using the training component of the practice which provides education on the practice and its component parts. If adoption is seen in many parts of the organization, then the practice may be termed a "best practice" for the organization.

Potential Practices in Configuration Management (CM)
Within the CM field, there are a number of practices that are prevalent within organizations. If you are beginning CM within an organization, consider the following practice as a starting point.

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. He has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the agile field since 1998. Mario 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. Mario is the author of Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams  and Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/.

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