In software engineering, software configuration management (SCM) is the task of tracking and controlling changes in the software. Configuration management practices include revision control and the establishment of baselines.
SCM concerns itself with answering the question "Somebody did something, how can one reproduce it?" Often the problem involves not reproducing "it" identically, but with controlled, incremental changes. Answering the question thus becomes a matter of comparing different results and of analysing their differences. Traditional configuration management typically focused on controlled creation of relatively simple products. Now, implementers of SCM face the challenge of dealing with relatively minor increments under their own control, in the context of the complex system being developed.
The history and terminology of SCM (which often varies) has given rise to controversy. Roger Pressman, in his book Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Approach, states that SCM is a "set of activities designed to control change by identifying the work products that are likely to change, establishing relationships among them, defining mechanisms for managing different versions of these work products, controlling the changes imposed, and auditing and reporting on the changes made."
Source configuration management is a related practice often used to indicate that a variety of artifacts may be managed and versioned, including software code, documents, design models, and even the directory structure itself.
Atria (later Rational Software, now a part of IBM), used "SCM" to mean "software configuration management". Gartner uses the term software change and configuration management.
The goals of SCM are generally:
* Configuration identification - Identifying configurations, configuration items and baselines.
* Configuration control - Implementing a controlled change process. This is usually achieved by setting up a change control board whose primary function is to approve or reject all change requests that are sent against any baseline.
* Configuration status accounting - Recording and reporting all the necessary information on the status of the development process.
* Configuration auditing - Ensuring that configurations contain all their intended parts and are sound with respect to their specifying documents, including requirements, architectural specifications and user manuals.
* Build management - Managing the process and tools used for builds.
* Process management - Ensuring adherence to the organization's development process.
* Environment management - Managing the software and hardware that host our system.
* Teamwork - Facilitate team interactions related to the process.
* Defect tracking - Making sure every defect has traceability back to the source.