Traditionally Configuration Management has four elements:
Configuration Change Control (or Change Management)
Configuration Status Accounting
Configuration Auditing (or Verification)
These terms and definitions change from standard to standard, but are essentially the same.
Configuration Identification is the process of identifying the attributes that define every aspect of the Configuration Item. The Configuration Item is a product (hardware and/or software) that has an end-user purpose. These attributes are recorded in Configuration Documentation and baselined. Baselining an attribute forces formal Configuration Change Control processes to be effected in the event that these attributes are changed.
Configuration Change Control is a set of processes and approval stages required to change a Configuration Item's attributes and to rebaseline them.
Configuration Status Accounting is the ability to record and report on the Configuration Baselines associated with each Configuration Item at any moment of time.
Configuration Audits are broken into Functional Configuration Audits and Physical Audits. These Configuration Audits occur either at delivery, or at the moment of effecting the change. The Functional Configuration Audit ensures that Functional and Performance attributes of the Configuration Item are achieved, while the Physical Configuration Audit ensures that the Configuration Item is installed in accordance with the requirements of its detailed design documentation.
Configuration Management is widely used by many military organizations to manage the technical aspects of any complex systems, including the management of weapon systems, vehicles, and information systems. The discipline combines the the capability aspects that these systems provide an organization with the issues of management of change to these systems over time.
Apart from the military, CM is equally appropriate to a wide range of fields and industry and commercial sectors.