The configuration management system is a tool that serves as a subsystem of the top level project management system. It exists to provide formal and specific guidelines to the project management team in applying administrative and technical direction and supervision to a wide range of processes including the identification and documentation of descriptive characteristics of specific items within a project. These items can include products, services, or other assorted components. The configuration management system, when properly implemented, can also guide the project management team when they attempt to change any of these characteristics, demonstrating the proper way to record and document these changes to best meet requirements for documentation and approvals. Traditionally, the configuration management system is an umbrella system that encompasses many other small essential systems such as the change control system. It, like most other project management system, should be implemented at the outset of a project to assure that it is most effective.
This term is defined in the 3rd and the 4th edition of the PMBOK.