April 27, 2005

CM Interview Questions

Here are a bunch of CM interview questions. Most are from here

Q Please describe the purpose of Software Configuration Management?
A The purpose of Software Configuration Management is to establish and maintain the integrity of the products of the software project throughout the project’s software lifecycle.

Q Give me some examples of problems caused by the lack of Software Configuration Management?
A Examples are:
• The latest version of source code cannot be found
• A difficult bug that was fixed at great expense suddenly reappears
• A developed and tested feature is mysteriously missing
• A fully tested program suddenly does not work
• The wrong version of the code was tested
• There is no traceability between the software requirements, documentation and code
• Programmers are working on the wrong version of the code
• The wrong version of the configuration items is being baselined
• No one knows which modules comprise the software system delivered to the customer

Q Please give me your definition of a Baseline.
A A baseline is an approved snapshot of the system at appropriate points in the development lifecycle. A baseline can be a specification, a product that has been formally reviewed and agreed upon or even a partial system under formal change control.

Q What does baselining provide?
A Baselining provides:
• A baseline establishes a formal base for defining subsequent change. Without this line or reference point the notion of change is meaningless
• The items in the baseline form the basis for the work in the next phase of the software development cycle
• The items of the next baseline are measured and verified against previous baselines before they become baselines themselves

Q How can one file compare future dated output files from a program which has change, against the baseline run which used current date for input. The client does not want to mask dates on the output files to allow compares. A Rerun baseline and future date input files same # of days as future dated run of program with change. Now run a file compare against the baseline future dated output and the changed programs' future dated output.

Q Please describe the difference between a configuration item, a version, a variant, a configuration, and a baseline?
A A CONFIGURATION ITEM is a work product (documents, code, unit test, etc...) identified and explicitly placed under configuration control.
A VERSION is a defined state of a configuration item at a particular time. Each time a configuration item is revised and replaced under configuration control, a new VERSION is created.
A VARIANT is one of several versions of a configuration item that exist at the same time.
A CONFIGURATION is a collection of configuration item versions that are put together (to form a module, a subsystem, a product, etc..)
A BASELINE is a configuration whose content has been carefully recorded and verified as coherent

Q Give me some characteristics of a good change control process.
A A process that:
• Specifies who can initiate the change request
• Identifies the individuals, group, or groups who are responsible for evaluating, accepting, and tracking the change proposals for the various baselined products
• The “change impact” analysis expected for each requested change
• How the change history should be kept

Q Please give your reaction to the statement – “Without change control a software engineer could make an important change to a configuration item or its interfaces without a lot of extra work and red tape.”
A This may be true but no record would be kept for:
• What the change was and why the change was requested
• Who wanted the change made
• Who approved the change
• Who made the change
• Who verified the change

Q The term SCCB or CCB comes up often when discussing change control. Please tell me what that term stands for and what its purpose is?
A The term stands for Software Configuration Control Board or Configuration Control Board and it:
• Authorizes the establishment of baselines and the identification of configuration items
• Represents the interests of all groups who may be affected by changes to the baselines
• Authorizes changes to the baselines
• Authorizes creation and release of products
Q Please explain what Configuration Status Accounting is.
A A function that maintains a continuous record of the status and history of all baselined items and proposed changes to them and reports on the metrics and traceability of all changes to the baseline throughout the software lifecycle

Q Give me some examples of what information a configuration status accounting system may include.
A Examples are:
• The time at which each baseline was established
• When each software configuration item and change was included in the baseline
• A description of each configuration item
• All change requests
• The description of each software change
• The status of each software change request
• The changes planned for each identified future baseline
• A configuration item index that lists each configuration item along with its creation date and current released version
• Change logs that show the history of the changes made to the source files as well as their release histories

Q Please give some examples of configuration status reports.
A Examples are:
• SCCB meeting minutes
• Change request summary and status
• Trouble report summary and status
• Summary of changes made to the software baselines and their frequency
• Revision history of all configuration items
• Results of software baseline audits

Q Give some examples of questions that a comprehensive configuration status report may answer?
A Examples are:
• What is the status of an item? (Specification approved? Subsy
stem been tested? State of a project item – Developed, reviewed, tested, …)
• Has a change request been approved or rejected by the SCCB?
• Which version of an item implements an approved change request?
• What is different about a new version of a system?
• How many faults are detected each month and how many are fixed?
• What is the cause of the trouble report?

Q What is the configuration auditing function?
A The configuration audit verifies that the software product is built according to the requirements, standards, or contractual agreement. It verifies that all software products have been produced, correctly identified and described, and that all change requests have been resolved.

Q The term “FCA” is often seen when configuration audits are described. What does it stand for and what is its purpose?
A The term stands for Functional Configuration Audit. It is the formal examination of functional characteristics of a configuration item, or system to verify that the item has achieved the requirements specified in its functional and/or allocated configuration documentation.

Q The term “PCA” is often seen when configuration audits are described. What does it stand for and what is its purpose?
A The term stands for Physical Configuration Audit. It is the formal examination of the "as-built" configuration of a configuration item against its technical documentation to establish or verify the configuration item's product baseline.

Q What is the purpose of a Software Configuration Management Plan?
A The Software Configuration Management Plan documents how configuration management is to be applied to the project. It describes all aspects of configuration management including identifying SCM roles and responsibilities, SCM procedures and practices to be followed, libraries to be established, change authorities, backup and archiving.

Q What distinguishes one SCMP from another?
A Each plan must take into account the specific needs and characteristics of the project.

Hiring Technical People

Hiring Technical People

April 25, 2005

Scientific American: His Brain, Her Brain

Scientific American: His Brain, Her Brain

Playing partisan politics with international telecom standards

Playing partisan politics with international telecom standards: "ated money to the minority party candidate in this past presidential election, regardless of their level of technical expertise, is now, according to a White House spokesman, unfit for participation in the international standards setting process. The Bush administration may deny that they pressure scientists politically, but engineers are apparently fair game not just for ideologically driven political pressure, but for partisan political pressure. Instead of offering my opinion on this--anyone who reads the site can guess what I think about it--I'd like to open the topic for discussion. But before we dive into what may be a flame war on the merits, or lack thereof, of playing partisan politics with the international te"

Programming with COME FROM

Best of DATAMATION: GOTO-less: "Although it is clear that the COME FROM statement fulfills most of the requirements of the advocates of GOTO-less programming, it remains for the practitioners of automatic programming to evaluate just how much this construct contributes to the development of automatic proofs of program correctness. Having at last put to rest to GOTO controversy, we now may enter the era of the COME FROM conundrum."

Institute for Backup Trauma

Institute for Backup Trauma

April 21, 2005


kidlinks Dvorak Kids

The Becker-Posner Blog

I'm adding this blog to my reading list. 2 guys debating in essay form. The Becker-Posner Blog

April 13, 2005

Transgressing the Boundaries: An Afterword

Transgressing the Boundaries: An Afterword: "The displacement of the idea that facts and evidence matter by the idea that everything boils down to subjective interests and perspectives is -- second only to American political campaigns -- the most prominent and pernicious manifestation of anti-intellectualism in our time." (explaining this parody.

April 08, 2005

Building Gab: Part One: Corante > The Loom >

Building Gab: Part One: Corante > The Loom >: "In 1990, Steven Pinker (now at Harvard) and Paul Bloom (now at Yale) published a paper called 'Natural Selection and Natural Language.' They laid out a powerful argument for language as being an adaptation produced by natural selection. In the 1980s some pretty prominent scientists, such as Stephen Jay Gould, had claimed that the opposite was the case--namely, that language was merely a side effect of other evolutionary forces, such as an increase in brain size. Pinker and Bloom argued that the features of language show that Gould must be wrong. Instead, they maintained, language shows all the classic hallmarks of an adaptation produced by natural selection."

April 06, 2005

Gödel's incompleteness theorem -

G�del's incompleteness theorem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Gödel's second incompleteness theorem, which is proved by formalizing part of the proof of the first within the system itself, states: No consistent system can be used to prove its own consistency."

Ivars Peterson's MathTrek - Calculus Made Easy

Ivars Peterson's MathTrek - Calculus Made Easy

How To Ace Calculus

How To Ace

April 05, 2005

TomsNetworking Product Reviews : TomsNetworking :

TomsNetworking Product Reviews : TomsNetworking :: "The folks at Moser Informatik have cooked up their Auditor Security Collection (ASC) CD, which has 300 network security programs pre-installed. Here is the best part, it's FREE."

April 04, 2005

Netzstaub: iPod-surgery

Netzstaub: iPod-surgery I figured the only solution would be to map the defective sectors by hand. A program would read a block, see if the ipod locked up by getting a timeout, reset the ipod, and try the next block. This way, I could get a pretty good image of which block were defective. The second tool would then take these sector numbers, add a few blocks of padding, and mark them as defective in the FAT (and in the FAT backup copy). The ipod would then handle these sectors as defective from the start.

The word of the day is "Portmanteau"

Portmanteau - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "A portmanteau (plural: portmanteaus or portmanteaux) is a word that is formed by combining two words"

SchoolTool - The SchoolTool Project

SchoolTool - The SchoolTool Project: "SchoolTool is a project to develop a common global school administration infrastructure that is freely available under an Open Source licence."

The Free (and 99.9% foolproof) way of ridding your computer of Spyware

The Free (and 99.9% foolproof) way of ridding your computer

April 01, 2005

All I want for Christmas is...

So, it turns out there really was a StarWars Christmas Special:

LucasFan and Oh, The Humanity have commentary.


pairon, originally uploaded by infoslave.



A couple new products that look promising:  Commentator for automatic source code comment generation, and The PairOn Chair for efficient pair programming.




P2P Revolution: Opera Announces Platform-Independent Real-Time Speech Technology

P2P Revolution: Opera Announces Platform-Independent Real-Time Speech Technology