Configuration Accounting

Configuration Accounting: Some more details

Configuration Accounting is the activity which supports program management by keeping accurate records of a system's physical and functional characteristics. Such Documentation usually includes such data as:

  1. The Technical documentation comprising the configuration baseline.

  2. Contractual information required to be included in the records reports for each configuration item, including contractor identification code.

  3. Approved changes to configuration, including the specific number and kind of items to which these changes apply, the implementation status of such changes, and the activity responsible for implementation.

  4. The name, number, revision letter and issue date of each specification, drawing, test procedure, manufacturing process, etc. that forms a part of the system.

  5. The part numbers and/or serial numbers assigned to individual units

Critical Role for Maintenance and Safety

Configuration accounting records are critical for system maintenance. The technician who must service or repair an item must have accurate information about the item's physical and functional characteristics. It is also critical
to know what version level an item is currently at. This applies to both hardware and software items. For example, whether an operating system is at MS DOS (No laughing, some still use this) Windows 3.10, Windows 95, Windows 98, etc., can determine whether or not a particular application program can be loaded and used on the PC.

Another example would be the version level of an F-16 fighter/bomber aircraft. Depending on the version being serviced, a particular retrofit might or might not be appropriate. This would be true whether the technician was trying to load a particular software application on to the plane's mission planning system or was trying to install a particular brand of a secure UHF radio to the plane's communication system. Likewise, in the civilian world, successful product recalls depend on a company's configuration accounting records; i.e., knowing which serial numbered products have the defective part.

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