Enterprise CM as foundation for a Lean & Agile business
To be lean/agile, you need to be able to rely on well defined processes that people can adhere to, which leads to consistent quality documentation (and I do not mean comprehensive documentation), leading to quality products that required zero to minor corrective actions (read waste) to come to be.
This is exactly what enterprise configuration management like CM2 will bring a business. As I wrote in a Glimpse into the Future of CM : Part 1 – How do model-based approaches impact Configuration Management?
Every company exists because it creates value, if a company does not create value long enough, it goes bust. To create this value, each company has a value chain. In this value chain people create and or use knowledge to contribute to the value creation activities.
This is where CM comes into the picture, these knowledge artifacts need to be identified, structured, and linked in order to find, use, reuse them, ensure consistency and traceability. Typically, in CM this knowledge is stored in documents and linked to items these documents describe.
The world is dynamic and change is a part of that, which means thahis knowledge is not created once, but changed many times, for which there is a change process with dedicated roles to facilitate the impact analysis, implementation planning and the validation and release of the knowledge artifacts to the repository of released knowledge (consisting of many databases in a company). To ensure that the set of released knowledge artifacts remains consistent, changes are traceable and a user always knows which revision is the effective one; in other words that you are in control and not in a state of chaos.”
In many cases Agile and Lean initiatives are implemented locally, with a limited scope and do not take end-2-end processes into account. This creates sub-optimisation and potentially causes more harm than good looking at the full enterprise scope. But how can you understand the impact if you do not have a valid and consistent set of high quality process descriptions with clearly defined in- and outputs in place?
The answer is simple: You can’t! It requires an Enterprise Knowledge Base based. A high quality knowledge base that is change controlled and always provides the valid documentation upon request. Any change will be assessed for impact and business value and if approved will be planned and implemented. In that sense, improving the way a business operates is not different from improving a product. For people with a CM2 background this Enterprise Knowledge Base finds its foundation in the Enterprise Administrative Hierarchy.
Reducing waste and being lean and agile begins with having consistent high quality process documentation that is under change control, available for use and usable.