Understanding Configuration Management – Balance Global

Understanding Configuration Management

configuration management

Some PRINCE2 students struggle to get their head around configuration management.  Unless you have previously worked in something like the IT industry, it is often a whole new aspect to you.  Furthermore, the information in the official 6th edition manual (page 142) is pretty brief (their used to be a bit more in the 2009 version of PRINCE2).

Our foundation course does have a unit on the topic under the change theme.

In case you don’t have our foundation course, let’s elaborate here for you. There are 5 activities commonly associated with Configuration Management – people sometimes use the (slightly weird!) acronym of Perhaps I Can See Vampires to try to remember them!

Perhaps = Planning. This entails thinking ahead regarding how much control is required / is some specialist software required because there are so many parts to keep track of etc? On a PRINCE2 project this is largely done when creating the Change Control Approach.

I = Identification. This activity is about being able to identify the parts / products you want to keep track of – so setting up some kind of numbering / coding system and will enable you to baseline an individual product and uniquely identify each product (with the correct versioning etc). When there is a change – identification will help you identify important links between products – so if one product needs to be changed – what other products might also need to be changed. Vital when assessing the potential impact / cost of a change.

Can = Control. Putting in place approval mechanisms for a product’s progress & change. i.e. who can access / change a product (keeping things safe) & who ’owns’ a product – can authorise it’s change – especially when ’live’

See = Status Accounting. This entails extracting information (a report) from a configuration management system regarding the status of product(s). What status they are at a given point in time. These can be ad-hoc reports, they can be about a single product (perhaps you are concerned about a particular product & want to examine information about it) or a group of them – for example a check at a Stage Boundary that all products created during that stage are at a status of ’approved’.

‘Vampires’ = Verification and Audit, which is about making sure that your configuration management system is working / being properly implemented – it’s a bit like a ‘stock-take’ – checking that products are where they should be, have the correct status etc.

2 more things to know regarding configuration management is the difference between Configuration Item Records 9CIR) & Product Status Account.

CIR’s – is a database record about a SINGLE configuration item (CI).  it helps track things like current version of the CI, links to other CI’s (if something has to change), who currently has a copy and links to issue (reports) in case you retrospectively need to look up why a CI was changed.

Product Status Accounts are reports on the status of products!  If you want information on more than one CI – the CIR will not help you as it’s about a single item – you need to run this report against your configuration system.  The report can be scheduled (commonly end of stage) or ad hoc if you are worried about something & want data.  You set the parameters of the report – for example – it could be about all of the products for the project, for a single stage, even a single product & the report pulls out whatever data you choose.

Hopefully that helps answer most of your questions on this topic!

07/02/2022

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