A systems engineering process for establishing and maintaining consistency of a product’s performance, functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design and operational information throughout its life



Competency Level


Knowledge (Theories, Ideas & Concepts)

Through Professional/Personal Study Gained Through Experience
  • Concept used within SE, ILS, CMMI, ISO 9000, PRINCE2, APM, COBIT, ITIL, Product Lifecycles.
  • Service, System, Product and Component design and build states with historic record of previous baselines, improved visibility and tracking and reduce likelihood of duplications. In parallel supporting defined and enforced policies with regards to asset identification, status monitoring and audit. Greater ability to resolve problems and a more efficient change process (including traceability by sub-system).
  • Understanding the value to business when it is used to optimise the performance of assets thereby improving the overall user experience, reducing the costs and risks associated with poorly managed assets resulting in outages, incorrect licence management, failed audits and increased liabilities.
  • The criticality of knowing the location, status and build configuration of assets that are released and deployed into the field, to assist with recalls, upgrades, software uplifts, swap outs, withdrawals and purges.



Together with Responsibilities/Accountabilities
  • Brought into service a very complex XYZ Configuration Management System as the Programme Manager.
  • Led the development of the VWX software that was able to do automated configuration management against pre-set baselines and report deficiencies and abnormalities to the user via an informative GUI interface.
  • Created a software flashing facility to allow users to uplift software on assets in the field, making savings that amounted to hundreds of thousands of pounds, without having to bring assets back to a central location or provision additional spares to allow the upgrade to take place.

What does Configuration Management Involve?

Selected Challenges & Approaches

Together With lessons Learnt
  • The hierarchy of components and the composition of parent baselines based on a collection of hardware and software elements can prove difficult to manage, if structures and processes are not in-place. Portfolios should be designed to be expanded for expected growth and also unplanned patches. Training people in the importance of Definitive Media Libraries (DMLs) and getting them to understand some of the subtleties involved in Configuration Items (CIs), Naming Conventions and Relationships Types.
  • This is the one time that I encountered a hostile ‘not invented here' mind-set from one of my sub-ordinates, which I treated as a personal challenge and overcame through application of soft skills and strategic patience.
  • The version control of documents or digital content to enable people to access the latest version, avoid people overwriting content, controlling change and identifying difference between versions and having the ability to access pervious versions. The use of SharePoint type systems together with the correct use of met-data helps teams to develop effective workflows and effective develop collaboration documents/content.

Selected Achievements & Successes

Together with Any ‘So What’ Statements of Insights
  • Creation and release/development of multiple products and systems, especially when incorporated with software diagnostic systems and health, usage and monitoring systems (HUMS) to allow variations in baselines to be quickly and efficiently managed. In future we will be seeing more and more systems telling users what is wrong with them.
  • Getting people to understand the problems associated with parallel developments (bug fixing), agile deliveries (rapid development with many incremental drops, reverse delta files, branch joining), maintaining multiple deployed releases, modular architecture with clear interface control points, linking requirements, to designs & test routines, and ultimately to packaged releases.
  • Beginning to get to grips with the state of the art configuration management tools: CFEngine (Fast but steep learning curve); Puppet (Market Leader, Restricted to Ruby and Slow Deployment); Chef (Market Leader, Restricted to Ruby and Slow Deployment); Ansible (Simple Management & Straightforward operation); Docker (Lightweight Containerisation); SaltStack (Python/PsDSL and midway between Market Leaders and Ansible); PowerShell DSC (Microsoft Solution).
  • Utilising DevOps - The collaboration between software developers and IT professionals in terms of automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes, using tools such as Jenkins (Continuous Integration) and Vagrant (Virtualisation Platform).

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