The Four Components of a Configuration Management System

2 minute read    Updated:    Harwinder Singh

Four components of a Configuration Management System for PMP Exam Prep In a previous article - Configuration Management System - A Quick Refresher - we got an overview of the Configuration Management System. This article is the third in the series on Configuration Management. In this short article, we’ll look at the four main activities of a Configuration Management System.

Four component of a good Configuration Management System

  1. Configuration Identification - It is the process of identification of Configuration Items (CI) and developing a method to uniquely identify each individual CI. It helps answers the following questions:
    • Which items are placed under configuration management?
    • What are the components of the product?
    • What is the structure (or configuration) of components in the product?
    • What are the versions of the configuration items?
  2. Configuration Control - It is the activity of managing the product (or project's deliverables) and related documentation, throughout the lifecycle of the product. It answers the questions:
    • Which items are controlled?
    • How are changes controlled?
    • Who controls the changes?
  3. Configuration Status Accounting - It involves the recording and reporting of all the changes to the configuration items. It tells us:
    • What is the status of proposed changes?
    • What changes have been made?
    • When were the changes made?
    • What components were affected by the change?
  4. Configuration verification and audit - It is the process of verifying the correctness of the product and its components in order to ensure conformance to requirements. It also means verifying the correctness of the Configuration Status Accounting information. It helps to:
    • Ensure that all the configuration items have been correctly identified and accounted for.
    • Ensure that all the changes have been registered, assessed, approved, tracked, and correctly implemented.
    • Measure the effectiveness of the configuration management process.

PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition, pg 96

3-part series on Configuration Management

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Missing Avatar

Hi Harwinder,

Could you possibly give an example of a simple IT project to put all the three articles into perspective. The articles are awesome but the mening still appears hazy.


Harwinder Singh Avatar

Hi Anon,

That's a great question. I would need to do a separate post on this subject. I'm a bit tied up these days and it would be a while before I can get to it. So, I'll give you a quick answer right now.

On an IT project, you have to keep track of all software (name, version, licenses, configuration, related documentation, etc.), hardware (type, cpu, memory, etc.) and network configurations. The software source code control tools (like Clearcase, Subversion, MS VSS, etc.) are also part of the configuration management system.

Hope that helps. Thanks for the feedback.

Harwinder Singh Avatar

Hello Sanemi,

I can't tell exactly how important, but if I had to guess, I would say 'moderately' important.

You might see some questions with reference to Configuration Management / Change Control, and you may be able to answer them without even reading these blog posts.

Most of the posts on this blog go beyond the scope of the PMP exam. If you want a better understanding of the concepts than what is explained in PMP Prep guides, then you may want to read these posts.

Hope that answers your question.


Missing Avatar

This helped. I have understood that these blogs aren't for prep...still I was wondering in general as came across lot of questions on this topic in one free exam and thought seeing your views. (sadly dont remember now which site...:-( ....solved a lot until now)
Reading your blog after reading PMBOK is really worthy as it gives same concepts in a view which is so simple and yet in same direction. I have to say that even I am looking forward to a book "Deep Fried Brain for PMP" soon. :-) (Read some comment which says this)

Keep it up! We are here to read whatever you have scrambled.

Missing Avatar

Article is good.
But generally people struggle to understand definition of CI. It could have been better if one or two CI with examples are taken.

Overall good to read and explore configuration.

Mike Salisbury Avatar

Configuration Identification means the documents that describe the configuration item. The configuration item is the thing you are developing or maintaining. The documents include requirements, design, source code, parts lists, drawings, test documentation, etc. The configuration identification tells how to build it, how to test it and how to maintain it. “It” being the configuration item.