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4 Feb

Configuration Management with Automotive SPICE

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Here we are with one more blog in our kitty and that will be on configuration management, Today, it seems that the way technology is gaining its reach to each sector of this world and to maintain and hold that reach configuration management is one of the important and dependable weapon. Configuration management was introduced in 1950s in the United States Department of Defense in the 1950s as a technical management discipline for hardware material items and it is now a standard practice in virtually every industry.
Let us just get to some basics, what is configuration management, you will see many definitions of this when you google, here are few.
A discipline applying technical and administrative direction and surveillance to identify and document the functional and physical characteristics of a configuration item, control changes to those characteristics, record and report change processing and implementation status, and verify compliance with specified requirements.
                                                                                                                                                              IEEE 610
Configuration Management is to establish and maintain the integrity of work products using configuration identification, configuration control, configuration status accounting, and configuration audits.
                                                                                                                                                              CMMI
Configuration Management is to establish and maintain the integrity of all work products of a process or project and make them available to affected parties.                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                               Automotive SPICE
What I deduced from the above definitions, is that Configuration Management is a discipline which is for the establishment and maintaining the integrity of all the work products of a process or project by developing a configuration management system and managing, organizing, and controlling the changes to the work product identified in an appropriate manner, then making these work products available to all the affected parties whenever required.
When we are done with what is configuration management, next questions that comes in the mind is Why Configuration Management? Why do we need it?
In the initial days, it was all manual work which was done by system administrators; However, the technology world is evolving and now the projects of software are getting more complex which needs everything more organized. Well there are so many whys!!!

• It reduces the manual effort (months) to determine which system/ software components should change when requirements change.

• It keeps productivity consistent as it makes it possible to quickly revert to the previous working state in case of any mishappening.

• It helps in keeping a track of versions of individual artifacts also known as Configuration Items (CI)

• It helps in reduction of cost by having the knowledge of all the elements in place and avoiding the duplicity in creation of any of the work product.

• It keeps the detailed information of all the components of your configuration, which avoid in unnecessary duplication of work resulting in cost reduction.

• Greater agility and faster problem resolution, enabling you to provide a higher quality of service and reduce software engineering costs.

• It also supports the change request management by making it more efficient, as it helps in maintaining the records of who changed what, when and why.

• It also supports multiple releases and project, by sharing and managing the required artifacts simultaneously.

• Better release management and clear status accounting.

Once you are done with the Why portion, then come to Who is Responsible?

Ideally there are people available in the market with the specialized skills in configuration management who implement, maintain, and improve configuration management within the framework. However, this is a misconception that it is only configuration manager or the configuration management responsible or configuration management analyst job to take care of the configuration management in an organization, Configuration management is the job of each individual who is into development or testing or any other support activity that is being performed for a product or a project.

Then comes in the Activities that makes the configuration management successful!!!

• Configuration Management Planning

• Controlling Configuration

• Configuration Audits

• Configuration Status Accounting

Let us talk about these activities one by one in brief.

Configuration Management Planning includes the development of configuration management plan which further includes identification of the configuration items (CI) which are going to be produced during a project or developing a product within the organization, how these identified CIs will be stored then what all procedures to be used to maintain the configuration management and which tool will be the best suitable for your requirement to maintain the configuration management in your organization. You must address the above questions at least, to have an appropriate configuration management, which will help you out in smoother transaction when it comes to configuration management.

Then comes in controlling configuration which includes implementing the procedure developed while planning, few procedures are check in check out, naming convention, versioning, branching and merging etc. which later helps in controlling changes and releases.

Then comes in the 3rd activity that is configuration audits, which plays a vital role in managing the configuration management, it includes the auditing of configuration states with respect to documented baselines, then configuration library audit, it just not only the audit, but it also includes the managing of non-compliance observed during the audits.

And the final one which is configuration status accounting which helps in recording, documenting, and tracking the change in status of CIs and change requests along with the documentation of configuration audit status.

Configuration Management and Automotive SPICE
Configuration management comes in the supporting process group when we talk about Automotive SPICE and is denominated by SUP.8. In Automotive SPICE the purpose of configuration management is to establish and maintain the integrity of all work products of a process or project and make them available to affected parties. Automotive SPICE gives nine Base practice to perform the configuration management process which are mentioned below:

• BP1: Develop a configuration management strategy.

• BP2: Identify configuration items.

• BP3: Establish a configuration management system.

• BP4: Establish branch management.

• BP5: Control modifications and releases.

• BP6: Establish baselines.

• BP7: Report configuration status.

• BP8: Verify the information about configured items.

• BP9: Manage the storage of configuration items and baselines.


Apart from these 9 base practices there are 2 generic practices as well which specifically points out towards configuration management which are mentioned below:

• GP 2.2.2 Define the requirements for documentation and control of the work products.

• GP 2.2.3 Identify, document, and control the work products.
Automotive SPICE is a framework which tells what to do, not how to do, you can develop your own methods, procedure, guidelines to perform the tasks which are given in Automotive SPICE via base practices.


Configuration Management and ISO 26262


In ISO 26262 there are two objectives defined for configuration management,

• To ensure that the work products, items, elements and the principles and general conditions of their creation can be uniquely identified and reproduced in a controlled manner at any time; and

• To ensure that the relations and differences between earlier and current versions can be traced.
For more detailed insights on configuration management, you can opt for the course provided by ZooKoo Consulting, Below are the details:
Introduction to Configuration Management
Course Code PC 02
Course Name Introduction to Configuration Management
Duration 1 day
Language English
The course offers an overview of Configuration Management. It also provides an understanding of the concept of Configuration Management as defined by various standards/ models. It will help in gaining in-depth understanding of various Configuration Management Practices. It will also showcase the implementation approach of Configuration Management in an organization. There will be not be any exam after this course and certification for participation will be provided by ZooKoo Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

CONTENTS

• Introduction to Configuration Management

• Key Concepts of Configuration Management

• Configuration Management approaches in various Standard/ Model (CMMI, Automotive SPICE & ISO 26262)

• Overview of key activities in Configuration Management

• Identification of CI

• Configuration Library Structure

• Configuration management Methods

• Configuration Management Planning

• Baselining

• Controlling Changes and Releases

• Data Management

• Configuration Management Audit

• Configuration Status Accounting The course will be presentation and discussion oriented.


TARGET AUDIENCE

• Configuration Managers, Configuration Management Person/ Responsible

• Process group members

• Project members who are involved in various system/ software projects.

• Any member, who are interested to learn Configuration Management.

PREREQUISITES

• It is better, Participants should have experience in Configuration Management (not mandatory)

• It is better, Participants should have basic knowledge of Configuration Management.

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