Each element of CM, i.e., Identification, Change Control,
Status Accounting, and Audits is inexorably linked to and interwoven with
Engineering design methodologies plus Quality Assurance inspections and audits
plus Manufacturing production activities, no matter how simple or complex the
program, and is thus integral to the process.
Tradeoffs exist every step along the way. These tradeoffs
involve cost versus control of the design and visibility into how the hardware
and software products relate to the design at any given point in time.
Manual, labor-intensive CM activities involving baseline
capture and control with change approval and incorporation processes employing
multiple forms, databases and meetings induce images of wasteful, expensive
pillaging of program coffers to Program and Functional Managers.
Thus proposals are often trimmed of CM-related quotes and
activities even before the program or project begins. This usually results in
additional costs down the line from excessive changes to the design package,
non-conforming hardware and/or software, repairs to or reworking of the product
hardware and software, and failures experienced in product performance after
delivery to the customer.
Take heart, though. Help is on the way!
For each specific CM activity, we will first examine the
conventional, classical CM as it is practiced today in large businesses and
corporations. Next we will implement, in a step-by-step manner, those processes
necessary to achieve our ultimate goals. Many companies are in some stage of
learning about new, automated CM processes or have begun an earnest foray into
the procurement of a Product Data Management (PDM)* system to solve their
problems. We will learn how to get to
that state in a safe and sane manner.
Automated CM is the way to go but much must be said before the plunge is
I believe that by addressing the key CM issues presented in
this book and by applying the procedures and guidelines defined herein, your
business can reap the rewards of an effective control system and sound risk
mitigation techniques. The journey we will take on our road to excellence in CM
will follow a route with a few twists and turns in it but the course is set and
the direction is true. This easy to follow “how-to” guide is designed in such a
way as to enable you to implement, in a cost effective manner, practical
Configuration Management solutions for your business for the Twenty First
I will first provide you with the “best CM practices” for
today’s business environment. The initial chapters cover the basics of CM, and
describe how CM ought to be practiced in businesses of all sizes. Current CM
methodology is discussed and then the evolution to a practical, effective and
ISO/CMM-compliant CM methodology is presented as near-term and long-term
Next, I will provide you with the complete process for the
planning, implementation and integration of a PDM system in your business. You will also learn how to integrate the
“best CM practices” presented herein into your business processes. You will be
aided by numerous detailed figures and illustrations. I will then summarize
these “best CM practices” and the PDM planning, implementation and integration
processes in template format so that you can tailor your new CM system to your
specific program requirements and so that you can be assured that you haven’t
missed anything along the way.
While presenting on-site CM seminars to a wide range of businesses
and government agencies, I observed many different ways that these businesses
and agencies approached the task of trying to improve their CM processes and
also procure and implement automated CM tools. During the interactive workshop
phase of my seminars I was able to develop a standardized methodology to
establish ‘best CM practices’ tailored specifically for each individual
business. My seminar attendees and I then utilized these ‘best CM practices’ as
the basis for performing a PDM System Requirements Analysis. The data obtained
from this activity was used to generate a detailed PDM System Requirements
Specification. This document became the framework for the evaluation and
selection of the most appropriate PDM system or CM tool to satisfy each individual’s
CM-related business’ requirements. This methodology guarantees that businesses
would be able to control their own unique CM processes and not become slaves to
the wrong CM tool.
One of my goals, therefore, in writing this book is to
present this unique methodology for a successful evolution from a business’
current CM practices to ‘best CM practices’, then on to the implementation of a
truly automated CM system in order to reach the ultimate goal of ‘transparent
Philosophy: Heraclitus said: “There is nothing permanent but change”.
Management (CM) is the process of managing change.
Everything we do
involves change. Product design, development, integration, test, production,
deployment, delivery, maintenance, and support are all manifestations of the
change process. So, CM - the process of managing change - takes on a new
light. It becomes integral to achieving our goals, i.e., a
that is not ‘the tail of the dog’ but one that serves an
equalpurpose to the traditional disciplines of engineering,
manufacturing and management. Of course, the CM
process of which I speak is not the classical ‘green eye shades’ occupation where rooms of squinty-eyed old men record data by hand in CM logbooks or enter data into
out-of-date databases when they are not carrying around forms to be signed
and bothering engineers and other important persons for
clarification and approvals. We will start with that conceptualization of CM under which
so many of us have labored for too long. After all, ‘you gotta
deal with what’s real!’
From this starting point in the bowels of time and industry,
we will first get organized and then move on to the interim states through
which we must pass in order to get to the ultimate desired state - transparent
CM. In this final blissful state one won’t see the old CMers slaving at their
A new CM tool, a Product Data Management* system, will
capture baselines and control changes, distribute documentation “in-place” and
save gobs of money for businesses and stockholders. Also, a well-defined, efficient, workflow-driven CM system will
replace the old, time worn reactive process of ‘fighting fires’.
This transition won’t be as easy as falling off a log,
though. There are many steps to be taken and many ‘hoops’ to be jumped through.
There will also be a considerable selling job to be done. This transition is
going to be a culture change ‘in spades’ for many.
* The term ‘Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) system
has been used by some CM tool vendors in place of ‘Product Data Management (PDM)’ system. This new terminology is
intended to demonstrate the capability of the PDM system to capture and control
‘enterprise’ data such as internal procedures, proposals, financial data, etc.,
in addition to the capture and control of product design, build, and support
data. Wherever the term ‘PDM’ is used throughout this text, it also refers to
‘PLM’ systems, i.e., they can be considered to be identical, since they perform
similar (generally identical) functions. Also, the term ‘PDM system’ also
refers to most ‘automated CM tools’ because this terminology is frequently used
by the software CM community.
Clarifications will be provided as appropriate throughout the text.