Software Configuration Management (SCM) Process: 6 Key Steps

The product (software) goes through a lot of changes during the maintenance period when we produce it, so we need to efficiently manage these changes. We have to be able to maintain a certain level of consistency between the old and new versions of the product. And that’s where we need the Software Configuration Management […]

Software Configuration Management (SCM) Process 6 Key Steps
Victor Elendu

The product (software) goes through a lot of changes during the maintenance period when we produce it, so we need to efficiently manage these changes. We have to be able to maintain a certain level of consistency between the old and new versions of the product. And that’s where we need the Software Configuration Management (SCM) process.

A software configuration is an aggregate name for the parts that make up all the data created throughout the software process.

Software Configuration Elements (SCIs) multiply quickly as software development advances. For example, in the early stages of a project, SCIs might be a class or type, and in the later stages, they might be an object or even a database table.

Let’s evaluate, in details, what Software Configuration Management (SCM) entails.

What is Software Configuration Management (SCM)?

Software Configuration Management (SCM) is a software development process that helps us maintain a certain level of consistency in our application. It helps us implement, track, and manage the changes made in our source code and binary files. The SCM should be able to detect all the changes made in the source code and binary files; it should be able to track those changes; it should be able to manage those changes so that they are all consistent with each other.

Software Configuration Management (also known as “Software Configuration Control”) can be used to manage any form of a software product. A good SCM would help maintain a certain level of consistency between your old and new versions of products (software). It would help you implement, track, and manage the changes made in the source code and binary files of our product. A robust SCM would identify all changes made in source code and binary files, monitor those changes, manage those changes so that they could be managed, and track those changes.

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How Software Configuration Management (SCM) Process Works

Software configuration management is carried out by employing scripts and programs that automate particular tasks to appropriately configure all system components. The details, variables, and actions necessary for the system to function at any given time are identified using configuration management tools, which also track, change, and manage configuration components.

The steps to complete software configuration management are as follows:

1. Organization and Recognition 

The procedure begins with planning and identification. Planning for the software project’s development and determining the components that fall under its scope are the objectives of this stage. To do this, organize meetings and brainstorming sessions with your team to determine the fundamental requirements for the remainder of the project.

Identifying the exit criteria and determining how the project will move forward are also parts of this procedure. Your team will be able to identify when all of the project’s objectives have been achieved in this way.

  • During this stage, specific tasks include:
  • Specifying each component of the process’ software setup 
  • Make a list of all the resources you’ll need, including tools, files, papers, etc.
  • Locating things like test cases, requirement stipulations, and code modules 
  • Gather the fundamental information on why, when, and what adjustments will be implemented, as well as who will be in charge of doing so. 

2. Baselines or the Version Control Process

By designating an acceptable version of the program and highlighting the many versions of development and configuration, version control or baselines guarantee the ongoing integrity of the final result. This baseline is established at a certain point in the SCM process, and it can only be changed by following a systematic process to accomplish the intended outcome. Controlling the product’s alterations and modifications is the goal of this step.

Controlling the product modifications that are being made is the goal of this stage. New baselines are produced as the project develops and changes, leading to the creation of many software versions and upgrades. To keep everyone informed, this stage also concentrates on creating a method for tracking the hierarchy of various software versions and creating a uniform labeling system for all products, revisions, and files.

3. Management of Change

This is the process of documenting the changes made and their effect on the system. It is necessary to document all changes made with a full explanation of why the change was made and how it will affect the system in the future. This may be accomplished by using a scratchpad or an electronic database. The major advantage of making all changes on paper is that it allows for easy comparison with the original system and documentation, thus aiding in determining what was changed and why.

There are many tools available for managing change logs, such as Microsoft’s Change Control System (CCC) or IBM’s Technical Change Control System (TCCS). The advantages of these are that they are relatively inexpensive, allow for easy tracking of all changes, and can be used to track other documents such as design specifications, user manuals, etc.

4. Documentation

Documentation is the most important part of any project. Without it, a system may not work properly or may not even work at all. Documentation will be needed for the operation, design, and implementation of the system. If a system is to be used in a large department or organization, then it must be documented to facilitate its use and maintenance by other employees, managers, etc.

5. Process for Review and Status Reporting

A review and status reporting process must be in place to ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. This process allows for regular communication between the project manager, customer, and technical staff. This communication ensures that the project is being completed on schedule and within budget. It also allows for any problems to be identified early on so that they can be resolved before they become major problems.

6. Process of Quality Control

Once a system has been created, it will need to be tested for functionality and usability before it is released to the customer or user group. A quality control (QC) process will need to be in place to ensure that the system meets all requirements from the initial design stage of development. QC will ensure that all requirements are addressed during design but may not address any new requirements after this point. It is critical to remember that QA testing is not the same as QC testing; QA testing should only test whether or not the bugs will become a serious problem before they become a serious problem.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of SCM?

.A variety of solutions are available to make the software configuration management process easier. These products’ goal is to automate manual operations while enabling precision, rapidity, and regulation.

Advantages of SCM

The primary advantage of SCM is the ability to track and control software configuration changes. This is especially useful in environments where the software systems are complex, change rapidly, and are distributed over a wide geographical area. This can be achieved by using a number of tools, such as:

  1. Configuration management system (CMS), which enables developers to manage the configuration of software components such as databases, web servers, and other systems with a large number of configuration options.
  2. Integration management system (IMS), which tracks changes made within one application versus those made across multiple applications or services that comprise an application or service suite. 
  3. Source code control (SCC), which allows developers to track modifications to source code and to revert back to previous versions,
  4. A configuration management database (CMDB), which allows for tracking the configuration settings for individual components or systems within an organization’s infrastructure or network.

Disadvantages of SCM

  1. For the development phases of the SCM process, fast and highly configurable hardware is required, which may be a drawback for various company configurations.
  2. Software development often involves multiple people working on a single project, which can make it difficult to coordinate changes between developers.
  3. It is not practical for small-scale businesses and projects to extensively change software configuration management technologies and processes.
  4. When source code is not under version control, it is very hard to tell when a change was made and whether it was correct or not.

Automated Tools for Software Configuration Management

A configuration management tool is a software application used for the purpose of configuration management. Such tools are used to maintain the integrity of the system, to ensure that all systems have all the necessary information available, and to track down any changes that may have been made.

Technology administrators and system engineers can employ third-party configuration management software that can be integrated with the current system, or they can implement their own internal protocols for configuration management.

There are several common tools for configuration management, including the following:

1. Git:

Git is an open-source, free technology that aids with version control. It is made to manage all kinds of jobs quickly and effectively.

2. TeamCity

TeamCity, which provides 100 distinct build configuration choices, is one of the most comprehensive free configuration management systems. It also supports many servers and integrates with implementation tools, problem tracking, and test automation.

3. Ansible

It is a configuration management tool for open source software. It provides job automation and application deployment in addition to configuration management.

4. SolarWinds

The SolarWinds Server Configuration Monitor evaluates program modifications and detects both prohibited activities and safe changes. It provides a checklist of system information that may be used to enhance the system and indicates discrepancies between different configurations to help in troubleshooting.

5. Rudder

Ruder is in charge of asset management and configuration management, both of which rely on an open-source application to perform system audits and configure systems across organizations in line with specified laws.

6. Juju

Juju uses the Go programming language, which is crucial for giving systems the configuration capabilities they need to grow in size, capacity, and functionality. It may also be used to deploy new systems and configure them in accordance with the architecture of the systems that are already in place.

7. Chef

Using the Ruby script, the chef determines the crucial procedures for upkeep and upgrading a system or software. Chef is capable of carrying out a variety of activities as a program evolves, such as testing, platform adaption, and risk assessment.


During the software development life cycle, configuration management best practices assist businesses in methodically managing, organizing, and controlling changes to documents, codes, and other entities. The main objective of the SCM process is to boost production while reducing errors. 

Lastly, the fact that several individuals are engaged in software that is constantly being updated is the primary driver behind the configuration management process. Concurrency, synchronization, and version control are established with the aid of SCM.

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