Implementation Guidance

Configuration Identification

The following implementation guidance summaries distill all the information and recommendations provided earlier into a small number of essential guiding principles of a CM program. They combine information found in technical literature and standards with interviews of transportation professionals experienced with configuration management. The summaries are designed to help transportation officials apply these principals to TMSs.

  • A CM manager should determine the agency's level of configuration identification (part, subassembly, assembly, unit, group, set, subsystem, system) based on the complexity of its system and the anticipated frequency of change.
  • A tool, which can be anything from an extensive database to a spreadsheet, is the best way to keep track of configuration item information.
  • For software, a tool that allows code to be checked in and out is essential to maintaining system integrity.
  • Having a centralized authority, which determines configuration items and the necessary information to collect on each leads to a more standardized and accountable system.

Change Control

  • CCBs should be established to make decisions regarding changes to the system.
  • The CCB should have personnel from various departments and areas of expertise so that proposed changes may be reviewed from many perspectives.
  • Agencies should use a formal change control procedure to ensure consistency and acceptance.
  • After a change report is submitted, a CCB member or designated staff member should acquire and distribute the necessary information regarding the effects of the proposed change before the CCB meets.
  • Tools should be used to help personnel keep track of changes in an efficient manner.

Configuration Status Accounting

  • All changes should be recorded with detailed information, which can be used to determine whether the change was implemented according to design.
  • A robust software tool should be used in carrying out all CSA activities. CSA should highlight any differences between a proposed change and the change as implemented.
  • CSA reports should be used to assess the current status of a system.

Configuration Audits

  • The appropriate personnel as chosen by the CCB should conduct configuration audits on a regular basis in order to ensure that the adopted CM policies are being used.
  • The auditor is responsible for documenting the findings and initiating the necessary changes.
  • Audits should be conducted in a standardized environment, which describes the auditor's responsibilities and supporting paperwork.

CM Planning

  • A CM program requires a CM plan.
  • The development of a CM plan must include the active involvement of TMS agency staff.
  • Use the following document to guide plan development: CM Plans: The Beginning of your CM Solution (Bounds and Dart, 2001).
  • Use a standard to guide development. Recommended: the IEEE Standard for Software Configuration Management Plans (IEEE Std 828-1990).
  • Put the majority of the effort into crafting CM procedures that work for the agency and TMS.
  • Start small—be sure to include essential elements and do not seek to address every possible system change scenario.
  • Put the CM plan under CM control.

CM Baselines

  • Keep formal baselines throughout the system life cycle.
  • The establishment and maintenance of baselines begins at the concept of operations stage.
  • Require contractors and consultants to deliver baselines as appropriate for the life cycle stage of the system.
  • Above all else, concentrate on maintaining complete, up-to-date documentation in baselines.

Establishing a CM Program

  • A CM champion is needed.
  • Ideally, incorporate CM during the requirements and development phases.
  • CM program begins with educating decision makers and staff on the realities of CM and the benefits of a CM program.
  • Be sure all involved understand that CM is an ongoing program, not a short-term project.

CM Administration

  • The TMS system/facility manager must play an active role in CM administration.
  • The roles of all personnel must be clearly defined and the relationships among them must be understood.
  • The CM plan should clearly state specific tasks and requirements of all personnel involved in CM administration.
  • The personnel involved in the administration of a CM program must have a variety of focus areas including: management, planning, financial, and technical.

CM Manager

  • A CM manager, employed by the transportation agency, must be formally established to lead the CM program.
  • The CM manager will be the chair of the CCB.
  • The CM manager should be an individual with an appreciation for technical considerations and who has a sound understanding of personnel, operations, and budgeting issues within the TMS.


  • Consider basic Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSAs) needed when selecting any staff member to be involved in CM program.
  • CM manager must have strong TMS experience. CM experience is preferable, but in-depth training can be used as a substitute.
  • CM facilitator must have experience with CM programs.
  • Consider requiring the CM facilitator to be CMII Certified.

Budgeting Considerations

  • Expect CM planning to require between 1–12 person months of effort.
  • Annual costs of a CM program are generally 5–8 percent of initial system cost.
  • Ongoing CM costs include staff time, consultant support, tool purchase/maintenance fees, and training.

System Life Cycle

  • Configuration management should begin at the concept of operations stage of system development.
  • Require consultants and contractors to deliver products that meet the requirements set forth in the configuration management plan.
  • Agencies that have started late should not try to "catch up." Simply begin applying configuration management as appropriate for the system's life cycle stage.
  • It is rarely too late to implement CM and reap the benefits.

CM Tools

  • An agency should carefully consider its level of system "ownership." Systems that require minimal CM activities do not warrant the purchase of high-end tools.
  • Agencies should survey currently available tools. The INCOSE Web site provides a convenient place to begin this effort: (
  • Key issues to consider when choosing a CM tool include:
    • how many seats (licensed users) will need to be supported.
    • the need for a high skill level to effectively use tools. (PLANET estimates that it takes 6-12 months to become proficient with their software.)
    • including the use of the tool and the purchase of the tool in operations and maintenance contracts.

CM Training

  • An agency should expect to spend 10 to 15 percent of original software cost on annual tool maintenance fees.
  • The case study of GDOT presented in the next section provides excellent guidance on the process an agency should follow in choosing a tool for a particular CM program.
  • Provide awareness-level training for all staff involved in CM.
  • Provide targeted training for key staff with essential CM responsibilities.
  • The CM manager should lead the training program.
  • Training must continue as the CM program continues.