The major aspects of a CM System usually include the following:
Change Request Management
Configuration Management (CM)
CM Systems can also include:
Configuration Status Accounting and Measurement
The following CM Cube, suggesting their mutual interdependence, serves to iconograph the major aspects of a CM System.
Change Request Management (CRM) - addresses the organizational infrastructure required to assess the cost,
and schedule, impact of a requested change to the existing product. Change Request Management addresses the
workings of a Change Review Team or Change Control Board.
Configuration Status Accounting (Measurement) - is used to describe the 'state' of the product based on the
type, number, rate and severity of defects found and fixed, during the course of product development. Metrics
derived under this aspect, either through audits or raw data, are useful in determining the overall completeness
status of the project.
Configuration Management (CM) - describes the product structure and identifies its constituent configuration
items that are treated as single versionable entities in the configuration management process. CM deals with
defining configurations, building and labeling, and collecting versioned work products into constituent sets and
maintaining traceability between these versions.
Change Tracking - describes what is done to elements, for what reason, and at what time. It serves as
history and rationale of changes. It is quite separate from assessing the impact of proposed changes as described
under 'Change Request Management'.
Version Selection - the purpose of good 'version selection' is to ensure that right versions of
configuration items are selected for change or implementation. Version selection relies on a solid foundation of
Software Manufacture - covers the need to automate the steps to compile, test, and package software for
The Rational Unified Process describes a comprehensive CM System that covers all CM aspects. The purpose is to allow
for an effective CM process that:
is built into the software development process.
helps manage the evolution of the software development work products.
allows developers to execute CM tasks with minimal intrusion into the development process.
One goal of the Rational CM process is to encourage version control of work products captured in development tools, and
to de-emphasize the resource inefficient production of hardcopy documentation per-se.
Another goal of the Rational CM process is to ensure that the level of control applied to each work product is based on
the maturity level of that product. As work products mature, change authorization migrates from implementer, to
subsystem or system integrator, to project manager and ultimately to the customer.
For the sake of process efficiency it is important to ensure that the bureaucratic overhead associated with the Change
Request Management process is consistent with the maturity of the product.
For example, during early iterations the Change Request Management (CRM) process may be relatively informal. In the
later phases of the development lifecycle, the CRM process can be made more strict to ensure that necessary test and
documentation resources can handle changes as well as assessing the potential instability that a change may introduce.
A project which is unable to tailor the level of control during the development process will not be running as
efficiently as possible.