Topic 11.13: Configuration management

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If change control is the process of managing change, then configuration management is the system that supports and enables it.

Configuration management – also known as version control, revision control or source control – is the management of changes to documents, programs, and other project information.

Although for a long time it was almost exclusively used in software development, these days it is common practice where a group of people have the access (if not always the authority) to change shared files.

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Changes are usually identified by a number or letter code, termed the ‘version number’, ‘revision level’, or simply the letter ‘v’. For example, an initial set of files might be ‘v1’.

When the first change is made, the resulting set is ‘v1.1’; the next major change might be ‘v2’, and so on.

Each revision is associated with a timestamp and the person making the change.

Versions can be compared, restored, and with some types of files, merged.

You will see that each of the templates provided with this course has a final page for configuration management.

Configuration management systems most commonly run as standalone applications, but revision control is also embedded in various types of software such as word processors, spreadsheets, content management systems, and even project management software.

Configuration control can also extend to the actual deliverables or outputs of the project.

Regular audits should also be undertaken to verify that a project’s configuration is complete and up-to-date and that legacy versions of documents and other project information are removed from circulation.