If I could use only one of the stack of SCM books I own to guide me through an implementation and serve as reference this book would be it. The reasons for this bold statement are:
- it's comprehensive in coverage, starting with an in-depth introduction that clearly explains software configuration management as a discipline and process area, its benefits, and an overview of implementation issues, to details on every aspect of performing and managing software configuration.
- it addresses SCM from both software engineering and project management perspectives.
- it's based on established standards (MIL-STD-973 and EIA-649).
To readers who are working in agile environments that employ rapid development and implementation approaches the MIL-STD-973 and EIA-649 standards upon which this book is based may raise a red flag. To assuage concerns about introducing what many may perceive to be heavy, bureaucratic standards to processes designed for fast paced implementation, SCM is one area that requires checkpoints and a methodical process to ensure quality. As you read this book you'll find that neither MIL-STD-973 or EIA-649 are inherently cumbersome, especially if tailored to your specific project or development environment.
Highlights of this book, aside from the detailed treatment of every facet of SCM, are the copious use of tables and graphics to summarize or clarify key concepts and how processes work, and the wealth of artifacts contained in the appendices. The appendices alone are worth the price of this book because they provide templates, guidelines and checklists, and forms that you can immediately use. Note, though, that many of these artifacts are also provided in other books from the publisher, and some such as the DoD Engineering Change Proposal may not be applicable to your objectives (although they will be useful if tailored).
As you read this book you'll discover that general configuration management principles are also introduced, expanding the usefulness to integrators as well as software engineers. What I especially like is how the book never loses sight of the relationship between SCM and quality, the way metrics are identified and presented, and the interrelationship between configuration management and maintenance.
I personally believe that this book is the best there is for implementing and employing a strong SCM process, which is critical to any software or integration project.