In Turbulent economic times such as the recent days, it is reasonable to assume that while some things will be reduced or cut, (e.g. human resources and budgets), others (e.g. documentation) will be maintained or even increased. So, what can we do to create effective and accurate CM Plans?
In this article I'd like to show some essential points for effective CM planning, which can offer a solution of reducing costs, based on the IEEE 828 standards. Basically, the goal is to reduce quantity but not quality.
This kind of planning will not fit every organization, and of course a compatibility check is required.
In harsh times planning is less frequently taken into consideration and developing and implementation are more in focus. This is a regrettable mistake, because even brief planning is better than no planning at all. Skipping the plans is like building your house without planning; would anyone do that?
Here I present a few rules which can help you do a minimal-but-necessary CM planning:
- Usually, CM planning procedure involves requirements management, analysis and quality assurance planning, implementation and source control, testing, integration and release management. In turbulent times it's possible to start with the quality assurance stage, and when possible - add the earlier stages (requirements and analysis) to the plans, but nevertheless it's important to put a "place holder" for them.
- Start planning from the most urgent tasks for every stakeholder in the organization. Later, when times calm down, do the rest.
- Think as a businessman: start planning from tasks that gives high and immediate ROI, like traceability between source control and release management; automation of builds, etc.
- Set generic processes and flowcharts which will be suitable for your organization with minimal customization, and, when necessary, customize them more tightlyin the future.
The following standards-based table, taken directly from the IEEE 828 Standard (CM Planning), shows the re-organization changes:
Class of Information
Identifies the responsibilities and authorities for accomplishing the planned activities
Some people may have to take more responsibilities
Identifies all activities to be performed in applying to the project
Define which activities should be planned now, and which will be identified later
Identifies the required coordination of SCM activities with the other activities in the project
Schedules are the same or shorter (A shortened time-to-market?)
Identifies tools, physical and human resources required for execution of the Plan
Less resources due to lower budget and/or fewer employees
SCM plan maintenance
Identifies how the Plan will be kept current while in effect
No change. alternately - automating processes can be defined and implemented
The plans should coexist with the business reality of the organization: schedules, budgets, resources and required contents for a release of satisfying product, but more important - to the people, the stakeholders. Do not ignore the people and their needs. A planning process, that fails to take into account people's needs, will cause objections and eventually will not be followed at all.