Adapting the Agile Mindset to Software Configuration Management


Configuration Management Mindset
The CM mindset focuses on the CM values. CM professionals typically have a need to ensure integrity of a product, by providing control mechanism for change and the need to have tasks that complete. CM professionals focus on both the project and product level. The project level focus is to ensure there are enough controls to help the project stay on track and get released. The product level focus is to ensure there is integrity from one project to the next and on the multiple baselines that need support (e.g., current, new, bug fix). Because CM focuses on the product level, this becomes a good place to examine improvements over time. The following are several viewpoints that illustrate the mind of a CM professional:


·         Think modular: CM thinking focuses on modularity and in small building blocks. This makes it easier to group and configure items into building blocks are uniquely defined. Thinking in a modular manner also makes it easier to construct and deconstruct a process, particularly when CM professionals are often asked to automate processes so they understand the checkpoints along the way as they script and code. Applying modular concepts helps with branching where different codelines of development can be separated and merged as needed.

·         Think integrity: CM professionals tend to believe strongly in integrity. This includes both personal integrity in the manner in which CM professionals work and integrity in the product development they are supporting. Personal integrity implies that CM professionals believe strongly in doing the work the right way and feel accountable to ensure correctness and completion of the task. Integrity in the product implies that CM professionals feel strongly in having working processes that have the ability to control changes to the product and have the ability to verify the baseline of code in which they are working.

·         Think “get it done”:  CM professionals have a strong tendency to want to get the job done. In a 2007 study of Myers-Briggs Types Relative to CM Professionals, a surprising 79% of the CM Professionals surveyed exhibited a leaning toward a “Judging” preference. This preference indicates a willingness to make decisions, a need to complete tasks, and implies a need to establish a level of structure. This may stem from the multitasking environment most CM professionals work where the completion of a task allows more of a focus on additional tasks. This 2007 study supports the similar study done in 2003 where 76% were scored a judging preference (e.g., a need to complete tasks).

·         Think improvement:  CM professionals have a strong tendency to want to improve. They are always looking for ways to automate manual processes for both to ensure integrity and to simply find better ways of doing things. They tend to be forward thinking from the point that they are motivated by perceived improvements in the future and less focused on the existing conditions today. There is always a better way. CM professionals only consider improvements that do not impact integrity of the product and the CM processes that supports the building and delivery of a product release.         

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