It's Time We Create a Configuration Management Manifesto

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A recent discussion on Linkedin finally pushed me into action. Some folks were describing what they felt was “faux CM” taking over the CM profession due to the misapplication of CM principles. I felt it was basically a hardware configuration management vs. a software configuration management battle.

Both of these fields fall under the greater CM umbrella, but how they are implemented and how we apply the four core principles are very different. Hardware is black and white, but software has lots of gray areas. We should approach fellow CM professionals and be respectful of our differences as well as the different standards and frameworks we recognize.

A recent study of IT Professionals on Evolven’s website found CM was ineffective in meeting the demands of the modern data center and cloud technologies.

This manifesto will be a guide of who we are, what we expect from each other, and what other groups in the various Information Technology fields can expect us to offer them in terms of service.

The eventual output will be a living document that will give every CM person a mantra that they can follow in their CM-related positions. This document will be technology neutral and model neutral because all opinions are welcome and should be heard. 

The Configuration Management Manifesto
We, as Configuration Management (CM) professionals, act as a support organization to the information technology and business groups we serve, affirm the following:

CM consists of these four core principles:

    • Configuration identification
    • Configuration control
    • Configuration status accounting
    • Configuration audits

We also recognize the need for CM planning and management of our discipline. We will apply these principles to our software, hardware, data, and documentation groups as tool and methodology agnostic practitioners.

We also recognize and affirm our role and duties in the much larger application lifecycle management realm and all of the responsibilities that our discipline requires.

We support the better, faster, and cheaper model as it applies to our discipline and the other groups we come in contact with. We recognize that our field and concepts have many definitions, but the four core principles guide us in our profession.

I welcome debate on this and hopefully this will be placed on a website for people to read and to abide by when it is completed. I am including the following five links to organizations who help define who we are as CM Professionals: IEEE , ANSI, SEI, ITIL, ISO.

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Joe Townsend

Joe Townsend has been in the configuration management field for twelve years. He has worked for CNA Life Insurance, RCA, Boeing, UPS, and in state government. Joe has primarily worked with Serena tools, including PVCS Version Manager, Tracker, TeamTrack (Mashups), and Dimensions. He is an administrator for WebFocus and supports Eclipse users.