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Software Configuration Management


Akhila Reddy Lambu

Definition of SCM

Software configuration management (SCM) involves tools and procedures that control changes, such as version changes, updates or bug fixes, to a software application. In other words, SCM is the task of tracking and controlling the changes in the software.


The purpose for employing software configuration management is to avoid software configuration problems and maximize productivity. It focuses on establishing and maintaining consistent program performance by managing and controlling changes made throughout the product lifecycle.

Benefits of SCM

Tracks concurrent development of modules or components of the overall system to Provide visibility of the entire software project to all developers. Provides a snapshot of dynamically changing software to Make decisions based on an instantaneous view. It Organizes all concurrently developing code and associated documentation to Save overall project time

Basic concepts in SCM

Configuration Item Change Request

Versions and configurations

Basic concepts in SCM Promotion Release Repository Workspace

SCM Roles

Configuration manager Change control board member


Configuration Management Activities

Configuration item identification Baselines Change control Version control Configuration audits Release management and delivery

SCM Tools
Revision Control System (RCS ): The developer specifies a label for each configuration item. Using this label, developers can check out consistent set of versions . Concurrent Versions System (CVS): CVS System lets the groups of people work simultaneously on group of files. This tool is similar to RCS. In addition it also supports the concept of branch. Clear Case: Clear Case is designed to help developers track the files and directories used to create software. The files stored in the repository are called elements

SCM Tools

ClearQuest: This tool is a change request management application that allows a developer to track and monitor the change requests for a configuration item . Perforce: Perforce is a commercial replacement for CVS. It also controls a central repository like CVS and RCS. Files or elements are stored in the central repository called Versioned Object Base (VOB).

Benefits of using tools

Ability to track and manage changes within a user defined process workflow. Real time analysis of all development activities.

More effective team management


Configuration management is very crucial for evolving software systems. Change in many large software systems is inevitable. Careful planning is required considering aspects like the components that are likely to be changed, any other subsystems that may have to be changed for the modification of the given system, analysis of cost etc. CM makes sure that these changes do not cause undesired impact on the other subsystems.