Configuration Management: A Real Life Issue
After a project is produced and baselined, further changes to the Plans and Products are inevitable and thus an organization would have multiple versions of similar product. If these versions are not recorded, documented and stored properly, there will be enormous confusion and chaos in the organization. The PRINCE2 Configuration Management methodology provides a structured approach to manage, control and record various product changes.
What’s Configuration Management about?
According to the PRINCE2 methodology, Configuration Management is a set of activities needed to maintain and control changes for each type of product throughout the project lifecycle. The premise also extends beyond the project lifecycle and also coversmanaging product after the project is completed. In short – it is about looking after various products in a Project.
PRINCE2 Configuration Management records various versions of product produced, their numbers, owners and the relationship between various products being developed. Every product and project needs a systematic Configuration Management both during and beyond its projects lifecycle. Configuration Management is crucial component of quality management and it ensures that current version of product is being used and delivered at the customer site.
Configuration Management includesthe following:
- Multiple products being produced with their versions details
- Records of who has got what, where and why
- A library and librarian role
- Decisions about what tools and procedures to use to run the library
- Decisions about what to put in the library and how to number the versions
- Occasional reports and audits to verify that records match reality
PRINCE2 Configuration Management Procedure
The PRINCE2 Configuration Management procedure includes 5 steps:
- Planning lanning is done at the start of the project and deals with deciding the level and detail of Configuration Management is needed and how it will be accomplished. Every project is different and unique in the essence and thus Configuration Management needs to be defined accordingly.
- Identification:In Identification, all the products of the project id identified and a unique number is assigned for easy identification.There is no fixed rule for naming convention and project manager is free to design their naming convention. However it is important that the agreed naming convention is used throughout the project and also across the organizations for easy understanding.
- Control:It deals with the control of various products changes. However, if the product is approved or Baselined, no changes can be done without authorization.
- Status Accounting:Status Accounting is recording and reporting of all the current and historical data about the product changes.This is mainly done through the Product Status Account Report, which shows various products versions and how the product has changed with every version. The Product Status Account Report would include following information about each product: Unique identifier, version, last updated date, current status, owner, new changes, date of next baseline, users, etc.
- Verification and Audit:Verification deals with a set of reviews and audits to ensure conformity between the project’s products and the configuration record. Configuration Audits are normally done at the end of each stage.Verification also checks that the project is using proper Configuration Management procedure throughout the project, which is outlined in the Configuration Management strategy document.