Home > Articles > Programming

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Planning and Organizing for SCM

When planning for SCM in your product development organization, you must first understand the classes of potential problems that can exist. Once the classes are understood, the inherent problems that are causing configuration management issues may be easily identified.

Potential SCM Problem Classes

  1. Multiple developer syndrome—When you have a project that requires more than one developer, there is the problem with multiple people working on one product base. This could be a test plan, requirements specification, or code. Effort is wasted when two or more people work on the same file and then save it. Without SCM control, the last person to save the file has those changes saved. All the other changes are lost. The simplistic method of locking a file while one person reads it prevents others from simultaneously working on the file.

  2. Multiple releases—Enhancements to the base product should result in additional releases of the product containing the latest changes. Once the second release is available, some users are on an earlier release. Having an SCM makes managing those releases possible. When bugs are reported, changes must be made across all impacted releases. As new features become available in the product, they must be made available to all current users, no matter what the release date.

  3. Product family—As products are built that offer the same capabilities across a heterogeneous set of hardware platforms, both the common and the platform-specific software bases must be managed. If a product operates on four versions of Windows, three versions of Unix, Red Hat Linux, and FreeBSD the user manual may be significantly the same. But there is a different installation process for all nine platforms. Without SCM, nine individual manuals must be written and maintained. With SCM, one documentation configuration item with nine versions will suffice, with the differences being only the installation procedure.

  4. Requirements change—The first law of systems engineering is that no matter where we are in the system life cycle, the system/software will change, and the desire to change it will persist throughout the life cycle. Dealing with this change represents a major management challenge. Having an SCM in place will ease the management of these changes to the requirements of the products that will occur. An SCM allows the easy identification of feature sets that group the requirements satisfied by a release or version of the product. These feature sets are tracked through development to delivery.

  5. Schedule change—As requirements change, so must the schedule. Mapping the feature sets for release to the schedule allows project managers to more accurately estimate the effort required for generating that next release. Having the SCM in place allows the project manager to look at historic effort levels in getting out releases. This is an enormous aid in estimating the "what if" scenarios that result from taking on new product users or providing customized solutions to other clients.

  6. Software changes—No product developer has the luxury to write code once and forget about it. Along with requirements and schedules, the software being developed changes in response to those other changes. Software is not static. That is its inherent power. It can be changed, so it will be changed. SCM systems track those changes so that, if the wrong change is made, a previous working version is available. This capability alone has saved enormous amounts of time as developers have tried out specific solutions that did not work in the product environment and were able to rapidly back up to a working version.

  7. Staff changes—In the best of organizations, people get promoted, take other jobs, and leave. When that happens in the midst of a development project, not just the technology knowledge goes out the door. The long-learned knowledge of how things are done is also gone. So when a replacement person is brought on board, they may know the technology, but without a documented SCM process, they will have no real idea how to do product development. SCM provides the framework and knowledge base of what has gone on before in the project. A new staff member has one place to go to understand the "how" of the organization's development process and the "what" of the project to date.

  8. System/user documentation change—No product developer has the luxury to produce in a technology or tool vacuum. All product developers use hardware microcode, operating systems, tools, and documentation that are not under their control. When a major operating system change occurs (e.g., the next "best" release of Windows), an SCM will allow tracing all the CIs, components, and subcomponents that are impacted by that change. The change is isolated, and the amount of effort required to respond to the change can be estimated. This provides a responsible schedule for an upgrade based on situations beyond the organization's control.

A template that may be used in the creation of a software configuration management plan (SCMP) appears in Appendix F, "Project Artifact Templates." It includes management issues (organization, responsibility, etc.), SCM activities (configuration item identification, change control, status accounting, audit, and reviews), tools, techniques and methods, supplier control, and standards collection and retention.

SCM Staffing

On any given project, a few engineers or developers specialize in and become your SCM experts. While they are the gurus, everyone on your project will be a user of the product that they select, develop, and maintain. It is better to have a few highly experienced people than a large number of inexperienced people. These experienced few must be able to see congruence between software products and perceive what is missing from a software product.

We can group the characteristics and abilities needed by the four SCM functions: identification, control, auditing, and status accounting.

Identification

  1. Ability to see partitions

  2. Ability to see relationships

  3. Some technical ability

  4. System engineering orientation

  5. Programming

Control

  1. Ability to evaluate benefits versus cost

  2. System viewpoint (balance of technical/managerial, user/buyer/seller)

  3. An appreciation of what is involved in engineering a software change

Auditing

  1. Extreme attention to detail

  2. Ability to see congruence

  3. Ability to perceive what is missing

  4. Extensive experience with technical aspects of system engineering or software engineering

Status Accounting

  1. Ability to take notes and record data

  2. Ability to organize data

  3. Some technical familiarity

  4. System engineering orientation

  5. Programming

Once the staffing of the SCM function is complete and the overall organization's SCM policy is established, the configuration control board (CCB) is identified. The CCB is the heart of the control function. It infuses sustained visibility into the process of change throughout the system life cycle and traceability into the process of change. The membership in the CCB is not limited to the developers or product line management. All stakeholders in the product must be represented. This includes the end-user usually represented by marketing, subcontractors used in the product development, product development funders, and the product developers. The CCB is the final decision maker as to what bug fixes, enhancements, and feature sets get included in the next product release.

The CCB has periodic meetings, with the results documented. These meetings can be done in a rapid fashion, and doing them online or via email is an adequate way to gain consensus and come to a decision. Important to status accounting is the documentation of CCB meeting minutes. The basic purpose of the minutes is to provide the CCB decision makers with the information needed to make intelligent, informed decisions. The amount of detail varies with the meeting frequency and technical content.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020