Product and Project Software Configuration Management (SCM)


Projects and products are different and yet how important is the difference? As Mary Poppendieck reminds us, “Besides this direct value of thinking products instead of projects, the concept also reminds us that our customers are not really interested in software anyway. The software we deliver is a piece of a larger product that delivers value to the customer. We must always remain value-centric to the customer.”

From an SCM viewpoint, the most important relevant distinctions that drive the selection of appropriate SCM patterns are:

  • Internal versus external
  • Deployment model
  • Degree of parallel working involved
  • Number of supported releases

There are plenty of good patterns to use and agile methods that emphasize continuous integration, regular builds and regular delivery of working systems that deliver value and can be very successful in either camp.

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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