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This chapter is from the book

The Goals of Good CM

I believe that there are three basic goals that any CM effort must accomplish. The first is that all code that has been deployed to production (or QA) must be easily identifiable. In CM terminology, we call this a configuration audit. That means that you can easily confirm that you know the exact versions of all configuration items in production (with absolute certainty). The second goal is that you can retrieve the exact version of all source code (and other configuration items) used to create that release (without having to resort to "heroic" efforts). Finally, you must be able to create a workspace (often called a sandbox) to make a small "bugfix" without any chance of the code regressing due to the wrong version of a header file (or other dependency). If you can't do these three things, your CM practices need some improvement. The good news is that we describe exactly how to accomplish these goals in practical and realistic terms.

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