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What is configuration management?


Configuration management encompasses the technical and administrative activities concerned with the creation, maintenance, controlled change and quality control of the scope of work.

A configuration is the functional and physical characteristics of a product as defined in its specification and achieved through the deployment of project management plans.

Definition from APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

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Asset control

Configuration management can be regarded as an asset control and it is essential whether one or more versions of a deliverable is created.

To implement configuration management, the project professional resources the following five activities:

  • Configuration management planning: A configuration management plan describes any project specific procedures and the extent of their application.
  • Configuration identification: Involves breaking down the project and creating a referencing system for each item.
  • Configuration control: Ensures that all changes to configuration items are controlled. Configuration control of specifications and test plans is vital for quality control to be effective.
  • Configuration status accounting: Provides records and reports that relate to a deliverable and its configuration information.
  • Configuration verification audit: Determines whether a deliverable conforms to its requirements and configuration information

Business information modelling (BIM)

Business information modelling (BIM) is related to configuration management. Business information modelling involves the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of buildings and places.

Building information models are digital files (often but not always in proprietary formats and containing proprietary data) which can be extracted, exchanged or networked to support decision-making regarding a building or other built asset.

The key output of a well-controlled configuration management process is:

  • confidence that the current version of any configuration item is known; and
  • documented traceability between versions of each configuration item.

Related reading

Managing change in the delivery of complex projects: Configuration management, asset information and ‘big data’

This article provides insight into how change is managed in three organisations delivering complex projects – Airbus, CERN and Crossrail – and how those methods are evolving in the era of ‘big data’... read more.

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APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition

The APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition is a foundational resource providing the concepts, functions and activities that make up professional project management. It reflects the developing profession, recognising project-based working at all levels, and across all sectors for influencers, decision makers, project professionals and their teams. 

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