By Kim H. Pries from Stoneridge and Jon M. Quigley from Volvo 3P electrical Embedded.com (04/29/09, 01:29:00 AM EDT)
Configuration management is a fundamental product development process. In fact, we would say "you don't know what you are doing if you don't know what you have;" that is, you don't have much of an organization if you don't know what your product is or the resources that are available.
We know from experience in various companies that an optimally running configuration management program will reduce erroneous fault reports and will also stream line test times. Manufacturing firms with good configuration management systems bring their part numbers and product releases under control.
In general, the enterprise is completely dependent on robust configuration management, whether the product is software, firmware, or hardware. Sending the customer the incorrect version of a product is a quick way to become a "de-sourced" supplier.
The Purpose of Configuration Management
Configuration management systems help to deliver coordinated software and hardware. They do this by easily identifying features and functional content within a particular software and hardware availability.
Not only that, but we can have straightforward traceability of function and feature growth over specification revisions as well as over content--hardware and software--delivery. Throughout the process (Figure 1, below), we can always clearly identify changes, execute pre-release containment, and identify compatible components within a system.Figure 1. Configuration Management Process
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