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Introduction To Configuration Management

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.657.1 - 6.657.4

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Paper Authors

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Nagraj Balakrishnan

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Michael Leonard

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Judith McKnew

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3642

Introduction to Configuration Management

Nagraj Balakrishnan, Michael Leonard, and Judith McKnew Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina

In this presentation, we discuss preliminary results of our project (funded by NSF) to develop innovative, high-quality educational materials in Configuration Management (CM). Specifically, we describe our efforts at developing a CM Overview Module and an accompanying Teacher’s Guide for use as part of regularly scheduled courses in the engineering and business curricula. These materials incorporate effective educational practices to improve student learning in both curricula.

In what follows, we first define CM and discuss why it is important for students to know about CM. We then briefly describe the overview module that has been developed for CM instruction.

Product changes result from several issues such as design maturation and optimization, cost reduction initiatives, additional requirements, and/or other continuous improvement activities. These changes must be dispositioned continually. As the pace of change increases in complex global markets, many companies are realizing the need to place their product and processes under formal change control. These dynamic operating environments require efficient change management systems that provide the ability to accommodate changes and retain clear, concise, and valid requirements. In manufacturing, as a typical product progresses through its life cycle starting with its conceptual design, a large number of changes may be made in terms of refinements to component parts, part suppliers used, assembly methods employed, testing protocols applied, and maintenance procedures prescribed. As a result, a comprehensive and robust change management methodology must include CM.

A robust CM process requires a formal methodology for managing product and process related information to provide structure and speed to formal review, costing, approval and adoption of changes. In other words, “Configuration Management is the discipline of identifying the components of a continuously evolving system (taking into account relevant system interfaces) for the purpose of controlling changes to these components and maintaining integrity and traceability throughout the system life cycle.” Doing CM well can have a significant influence on reducing costs and improving productivity especially for organizations that are operating as virtual global teams that rely on timely and correct information to make decisions.

Organizations that realize the importance of CM are using software-driven approaches to the task of coordinating the enormous quantity of detailed information involved in product information management. Properly implemented, a CM system provides, in a nearly paperless environment, the ability to plan, identify, control and account for the status of a product’s configuration and its logistic support at any point in time, the ability to insure that appropriate review and approval processes are followed in processing proposed changes, and the ability to estimate the costs of change.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ©2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Balakrishnan, N., & Leonard, M., & McKnew, J. (2001, June), Introduction To Configuration Management Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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