COVID-19 Impact on Configuration Management

The results

The results of the COVID-19 Impact on Configuration Management Survey are in. The survey received 35 responses. Thank you for your participation. The responses came from people representing various industries:

And as expected some, about a third of the companies, have felt the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic to their Configuration Management processes and ways of working. 

On the question: How would you characterize your pre-COVID-19 CM Implementation? CM Implementation means the way you have implemented processes, procedures and ways of working regarding CM Planning, Identification, Change Management, Status Accounting and Verification & Audit. The following responses were given:

So none of the organizations were completely paper based and most of them have significantly supported the Configuration Management processes with automation.

What is perhaps expected but interesting none the less is that organizations that are mostly paper based or 50/50 paper based are twice likely to have felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, compared to organizations that are mostly automated or completely automated. 

There was only one organization, in consumer products, that has gone from Mostly automated, limited paper based to Completely automated during the COVID-19 Pandemic as they were in the midst of rolling out improvements. The others remained the same at this point in time.

Impacted CM Areas 

The possible Impacted CM Areas are based on SAE-EIA-649-rev C:

  • CM Planning
  • Configuration Identification
  • Change Management
  • Status Accounting
  • Verification & Audit
 

From the 13 organizations that have felt the impact of COVID-19 on CM, 9 provided some insights in the open questions. The general impression is that for some the process was slower due to engagement or online communication.  Moving online takes adjusting, it would be interesting to see if this changes over time. 

The most impacted CM area is Change Management, with comments regarding having to move CCBs online, having engagement issues and a lot of mails going around. All of them having to do with the aspect of working from home, social distancing and communication via online means. 

Second most impacted area is Verification & Audit, which is to be expected as social distancing made physical configuration audits (PCAs) difficult or impossible. One respondent indicated that travel to the site was not allowed. 

There was also some positive feedback:

“TDAs are now completely electronic which is a welcome change. Besides this, not much impact.” – TDAs = Technical Data Analysis

And also:

“Interestingly enough, the impact on CM has been positive. We are in the midst of rolling out the first two thirds of our closed-loop program when COVID-19 hit our department. We were able to implement on time while working from home.”

And finally:

“We had to adjust our processes for meeting in CCBs virtually. This works better as the discussion is more focused. We also adjusted our decision making process to be electronic mostly. This is a path we were starting to tread before COVID-19, now it was easier to justify and we had more enthusiasm to make the changes.”

Final thoughts

Automation, when done right, can help organizations be prepared for unexpected situations like the COVID-19 pandemic. Some struggle with moving meetings, like the CCBs to an online environment but others have turned it into a success. Engagement is key, while it is difficult to keep people engaged that are not used to working from home, organizations need to find ways to engage their teams and help them transition to a new normal. 

If after reading this post you want to fill in the survey as well, then please go to survey here. Based on additional responses, new or changed insights will be processed in this post. 

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