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Overview of Change Management – Software configuration management

Software configuration management is an umbrella activity that is applied throughout the software process. SCM identifies, controls, audits, and reports modifications that invariably occur while software is being developed and after it has been released to a customer. All information produced as part of software engineering becomes part of a software configuration. The configuration is organized in a manner that enables orderly management of change.

The software configuration is composed of a set of interrelated objects, also called software configuration items, that are produced as a result of some software engineering activity. In addition to documents, programs, and data, the development environment that is used to create software can also be placed under configuration control. All SCIs are stored within a repository that implements mechanisms and data structures to ensure data integrity, provides integration support for other software tools, supports information sharing among all members of the software team, and implements functions in support of version and change control.

Once a configuration object has been developed and reviewed, it becomes a baseline. Changes to a baselined object result in the creation of a new version of that object. The evolution of a program can be tracked by examining the revision history of all configuration objects. Basic and composite objects form an object pool from which versions are created. Version control is the set of procedures and tools for managing the use of these objects.

Change control is a procedural activity that ensures quality and consistency as changes are made to a configuration object. The change control process begins with a change request, leads to a decision to make or reject the request for change, and culminates with a controlled update of the SCI that is to be changed.

The configuration audit is a SQA activity that helps to ensure that quality is maintained as changes are made. Status reporting provides information about each change to those with a need to know. Configuration management for Web engineering is similar in most respects to SCM for conventional software. However, each of the core SCM tasks should be streamlined to make it as lean as possible, and special provisions for content management must be implemented.

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