August, 2017

In last month’s CMsights post we reflected on why the combination of configuration management (CM) and metrics is so problematic for CM professionals to engage and then educate their executives about as part of CM planning. We remarked this is not surprising because many managers, unfortunately, give little thought about CM until something goes wrong in the configuration control of their product lines during manufacturing, quality assurance testing, supply chain logistics, or customer service. Then everyone is asked to care! Nor do many managers care much about performance metrics related to CM, unless some new initiative needs to be funded by, or for, their organizations.

In this second post on CM Metrics we are not going to recite all the performance data that CM specialists should already be collecting and tracking in their roles. Organizations like CMPIC, CMII, and ACDM perform a very commendable job at educating the industry on such topics.

Instead, we’ll share the ten steps – actually missteps – that we at CMstat have witnessed over the years which can derail the best CM implementations and devalue the metrics used to assess the impact of CM. And in the process can guarantee no one will ever care about, much less try to understand, the value contributed by the resident CM expert.

Misstep 1 – Failing to understand what your executive team cares about the most.

It starts with “m” but it’s not metrics!

Misstep 2 – Not establishing a baseline of performance with metrics before implementing CM.

What gets measured gets managed, and can get rewarded.

Misstep 3 – Waiting until you have better tools in place before doing anything.

There will always be better tools based on new technologies coming down the road, so it can be a long wait.

Misstep 4 – Worrying about risks and benefits to your job instead of those to the larger organization.

Don’t let the cynics win; it is possible to care about both at the same time.

Misstep 5 – Making assumptions that aren’t vetted by others then tested.

Many programs fail not from poor execution, but due to faulty assumptions which takes a project down the wrong path at the very onset.

Misstep 6 – Forging ahead with no clear vision.

Without an overarching vision that has executive buy-in there can be no mission which operational management can support, then fund.

Misstep 7 – Not publicizing your CM achievements.

The value contributed, and risks avoided or mitigated, have real financial clout, but only if measured and promoted.

Misstep 8 – Being quiet after you socialize the initial achievements.

The meek and modest are not always rewarded, so don’t go silent.

Misstep 9 – Resting on your laurels until the next crisis.

Driving continuous improvement avoids periodic panics that produce the next crunch.

Misstep 10 – Hoarding all the best practices and lessons learned by the organization.

Sharing these freely is a true demonstration of job security and team leadership.

At the just-concluded CMPIC CM Trends 2017 Conference CMstat Vice President Lisa Fenwick in a keynote presentation expanded upon these frequent missteps that can sabotage an otherwise successful CM strategy. Lisa shared her insights from over 20 years of consulting to help industry justify, implement, and leverage their CM software solutions like PDMPlus. Example guidance on CM and metrics from MIL-HBDK-61A was cited as being applicable for manufacturers in or out of the A&D industry.

To learn more about CM and Metrics by viewing her presentation just send us an email to

CLICK HERE to fill out the Get CMsights subscribe form to receive future posts from CMstat.