New EIA 649 Revision B, “National Consensus Standard for Configuration Management”

The new EIA-649 Revision B titled “National Consensus Standard for Configuration Management” has just been released by TechAmerica, the organization previously known as GEIA (Government Electronics Industry Association).

Configuration Management (CM) focuses on establishing and maintaining consistency of a system or product’s performance and its functional and physical attributes with its requirements, design, and operational information throughout its life.

This standard defines five CM functions and their underlying principles. The functions are detailed in Section 5. The principles, highlighted in text boxes, are designed to individually identify the essence of the related CM function, and can be used to collectively create a checklist of criteria to evaluate a CM program.

In describing each CM function and its principles, this standard utilizes neutral Configuration Management terminology, while also providing equivalent terms, that have historically been used in various product environments. There is no intent to express preference for any particular set of terminology.

Similarly, this standard uses a neutral set of names for the phases of a product’s life cycle, which are generic enough to be easily mapped to the myriad of different life cycle models in use. Table 1 illustrates some of the aliases for each phase name and identifies characteristics that apply in each one.

Regardless of the titles chosen for these phases, or whether the product is a facility, software, an airplane or a machine screw, at some time in its history a product will go through all or most of these phases. The phases can have considerable overlap, or the sequence of the phases might change or be repeated, e.g., for product improvements and enhancements. Approved configurations of a product can be in the build, distribution, operation, and disposal phases simultaneously, and changes to those configurations may occur during all life cycle phases.

Appropriate application of CM functions enables a user of this standard to plan and implement a CM program for a product, project, or enterprise. The degree to which each of the CM principles applies to a product varies over the product’s life cycle. Some principles do not apply during every phase of the product’s life cycle, e.g., configuration verification and audit principles are not applicable in the conception or definition phases. The degree of rigor and techniques used in implementing CM is commensurate with the type of product and its application environment as defined by program requirements.

The EIA-649 Revision B and all TechAmerica standards are available from Document Center Inc. at our website, www.document-center.com.  You can also order via phone (650-591-7600), fax (650-591-7617) or email (info@document-center.com).  Questions are always welcome.

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