Allowing Project Management (PM) to Help Configuration Management (CM)


To implement a CM infrastructure (tool, environment, and procedure) for an application, there will be many tasks and activities that must be managed, many with dependencies, utilizing multiple resources, and with a strong need for communications. Many times, I have seen CM infrastructure tasks get included in a development project plan (e.g., during the lifecycle of a development engineering project). What happens is the CM infrastructure tasks tend to take a lower priority than the development project tasks. This is because the CM infrastructure tasks are not project level tasks focused on the project lifecycle, but are application focused on the application lifecycle. Also, the common goal of a development project is to build a set of engineering delivers for the customers. The common goal for a CM infrastructure effort is to build the CM environment, technology, and procedures for the development or engineering folks.

You must determine if you actually have a project before you apply PM to it. As mentioned, establishing a CM infrastructure is focused on establishing infrastructure for an application. This includes many tasks that have a common goal of establishing a CM infrastructure. Typically, it is done once since you only need to establish a CM infrastructure once for an application. Later on, improvements or automation may occur. Also, while the CM engineer plays a key role in establishing the CM infrastructure, often times other groups are involved such as operations, development, and test.

With all of this in mind, applying PM practices to a CM infrastructure project improves the chances for a more effective SCM implementation. By using PM practices, you can define and achieve common goals, organize and prioritize the work, assign work or bring in expertise at the right time, improve better forecasting of task and project completion, move from an ad hoc approach to a planned approach, provide more control over a project, separate the analysis and planning phases from the execution phase, and ultimately provide a structured implementation approach.

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