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Help…Why is Configuration Management so Hard to Implement?

Why is Configuration Management so hard to implement and embed in an organization? Over the years I have been involved in various implementations of different aspects of Configuration Management. One thing that stood out was how difficult it is to get buy-in, to get real traction to implement the needed improvements, and to make them stick. This is not just my experience, I have heard this from many Configuration Management professionals. These people are passionate, have grit and perseverance to keep trying to move the needle in the right direction. And it is worth it!

Any change is hard, we the human species tend to avoid change if we can. Most of us tend to stay in our comfort zone rather than be confronted with uncertainty. Even if that uncertainty will lead us to a better place. In my post Doing the Right Thing I refer to the finite and infinite mindsets and the fact that you need a true cause for people to rally behind.

With Configuration Management, it is more complex.

When you want to improve the capability of mechanical engineering, you only have to get buy-in from mechanical engineers. You start with a few early adopters and start building from there.  But if you want to improve the capability of Configuration Management, you need to get buy-in from an entire organization as you will impact multiple functions across the organization. That means your cause needs to appeal to a lot of different people with different backgrounds before you can start. 

Another challenge is that in many organizations Configuration Management is considered to be part of engineering, or worse it is just an afterthought. However, Configuration Management is not an engineering capability. It is a discipline on its own. It is its own supporting function within an organization like Finance or HR.  
There are extensive standards that describe Configuration Management like SAE-EAI-649C or CM2, which is now available to everyone as a book. And while billions of Dollars/Euros are spent on recalls and quality escapes every year, there does not seem to be a natural inclination to improve the capability of CM to a level that ensures that information can be trusted. 

“It’s the ability to trust what you’re eating is good it’s the ability to know when you start your vehicle in the morning and you get on the road your brakes are going to work it’s the ability to know when you board a plane that it’s gonna stay in the sky that’s why these things are so important to me”

Configuration Management is the ability to trust:

The value of Configuration Management

The real value of an organization does not lie in the individual functions but in its ability to connect the dots across all functions and to do this well Configuration Management is a must. Configuration Management is the needle and thread that connects all the different functions and all the different data elements in a way that we can TRUST! That is what the Configuration Management professional tries to achieve. 

My challenge to the community for 2024

How can we help each other to elevate the position of Configuration Management? Feel free to reach out to me directly or leave a comment. 

Header Photo (cropped) by Markus Spiske on Unsplash 

2 thoughts on “Help…Why is Configuration Management so Hard to Implement?”

  1. Hello Martijn. Thanks for this holistic explanation. Configuration Management is a subject that its impact and worth become tangible over time for those who does not know its scope at the beginning. From my point of view, there are so many overlapping processes in companies that are expected to be deployed in line with the new trends or different function needs, due to this situation, employees resist every new process and they are overwhelmed. Maybe we could start minimalism in processes as well that enable to simplify the entire picture…

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