One of the steps in configuration procedure is verification and audit.
Configuration is the responsibility of project support but who performs verification and audit?
This often leads to confusion…verification and audit is NOT technical or specialist verification and audit, rather, it is to verify that the state of the products in the real world is the same as in the configuration item records, and so it is also done by configuration management staff…
Whereas product creation including design, build, test, whatever, would be the responsibility of the specialist team
Verification and audit – what is it?
It is a series of reviews and configuration audits to compare the actual status of all products against the state of products as registered in the Configuration Item Records. Any discrepancies will be corrected of course.
These reviews and audits also check that the configuration management procedure is being carried out as laid down with the organization, or adhering to any tailoring as described in the projects Configuration Management Strategy.
Such reviews are normally undertaken at the end of each stage, and at the end of the project.
It is the responsibility of the Project Manager to manage the configuration management procedure, assisted by project support where agreed.
It is the responsibility of project support (if they are providing Configuration management services), to administer the configuration management procedure, plus issue, change management. They are responsible for maintaining the Configuration Item Records, produce Product Status Account (Reports), and assist the Project Manager to maintain the Issue Register.
Verification and Audit – Who Does it?
Also, several people at one of my courses this week could not understand that population of configuration item records was done by anyone else than those in charge of delivery ie team manager/members. Those who actually are working with the specialist product configuration items.
Here is what I told them:
The specialist team should focus, as you would expect, on the build of the products.
The administration of the configuration item records is done by Configuration Management, Project Support, or by the Project Manager.
The INFORMATION however must be obtained from the team/project manager. Partly by the regular reports the team send to the project manager, who would then copy Configuration Management on the information.
You can´t have configuration item records sitting on the desks of the specialist team because there would be no control!
It is often not clear enough on the responsibilities post-project, when the project team has been disbanded. Is it operations and maintenance job to fix all errors – even those that should have been detected during acceptance testing?
This is a key point.
As part of closing a project, it is the project managers responsibility to get all of the products signed off – or accepted if you will.
This means that products are NOT passed on to operational and maintenance staff with errors – UNLESS – they agree that such errors will not stop them being able to use the products and they therefore ACCEPT them as they are…
It is then the responsibility of operational or maintenance staff and managers to get such rework done via their own effort, or possibly a “rework” project.
Now, as you may know, there is always a possibility that some errors only surface after a time period of the products being in operational use, that could have not been detected or even known about during the delivery project.
For that reason, many organisations have a group called “Sustaining” or similar, who in effect, manage small projects to fix any bugs or perform upgrades and so on….they too could be within ops and maintenance…As in a “normal” project, they too, will need to liaise with whoever is providing the organizational Configuration Management services.