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Configuration Management Plan


Quick Summary
Few things will derail a project faster or more expensively than teams operating from two conflicting design versions or outdated documentation. A Configuration Management Plan attempts to avoid lost time and expensive rework by documenting procedures the project team will use to control critical components of their project's "products"—hardware, software, documentation, written products, etc.


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What this is

Configuration management is the systematic approach to planning, identifying, controlling, and accounting for the status of a product's configuration, from inception throughout its intended life. A Configuration Management Plan documents and communicates how the project team will control critical components of the "product" of their project, whether it's hardware (airplane parts, medical devices), software (end-user or firmware), documentation, written products such as marketing material, or some combination of these. The plan defines the processes the team will use to identify and control the configuration of items, and the groups and people involved in monitoring and controlling changes to those items. A Configuration Management Plan is one of the more common auxiliary management plans needed to supplement the basic project plan information.


Why it's useful

Configuration management is sometimes seen as a control function that only slows development; however, technical projects in particular risk wasted effort and lost time and money if team members unwittingly end up working with outdated designs, code, or components. Effective configuration management manages change, mitigates the impacts of uncontrolled change, and communicates approved changes so all project personnel are aware. Configuration management is also a concern after the projectÕs deliverables are deployed, since it's important to the history of each product element during maintenance and upgrades. The major challenge in writing a useable Configuration Management Plan is defining an appropriate process that fits the size and scope of the particular project.


How to use it

Follow these steps to create a configuration management plan tailored to the needs of your project and your team. (The template provides additional information for each of these steps.)

  1. Start with existing processes related to Configuration Management (CM) in your company, and decide what applies to your project.
  2. If there is no existing process, consider consulting existing CM standards to establish a base approach for your organization. Several standards are provided in the following section.
  3. Fill in this CM Plan document outline with known information about your configuration management processes for managing your project's products, and identify gaps.
  4. Develop any missing CM procedure information that will be needed to adequately control changes to elements of your project.
  5. Review your draft Configuration Management Plan with the team, especially people who will officially participate in change control decisions during the project. Revise the plan and publish the first official ("baseline") version.
  6. Monitor the use of the CM Plan and related processes on your project, and update it as needed for new configuration items, process tweaks, and lessons learned.

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Related Templates
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Change is inevitable, or so they say, thus we all need to be prepared to accommodate it. But how do we embrace change in a positive way that doesn't impact the project? Is there a way to tame the unruly element that can dash the best of project plans? The answer to these questions and situational problems can be found here.

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Change Control Form
A form for requesting and documenting changes to the project (e.g. adding new features) or to elements within the project (such as changing a major spec of a piece of a system, product, or other deliverable). Includes fields for impact of the proposed change on the project timeline, budget etc., and on the components of the project deliverables.





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