SWE-083 - Status Accounting

1. Requirements

5.1.6 The project manager shall prepare and maintain records of the configuration status of software configuration items. 

1.1 Notes

NPR 7150.2, NASA Software Engineering Requirements, does not include any notes for this requirement.

1.2 History

Click here to view the history of this requirement: SWE-083 History

1.3 Applicability Across Classes















Key:    - Applicable | - Not Applicable
A & B = Always Safety Critical; C & D = Sometimes Safety Critical; E - F = Never Safety Critical.

2. Rationale

Configuration status accounting (CSA) provides a way for a project to determine the content of configuration items (CIs) throughout the life cycle by capturing the status of submitted products such as data, models, scripts, code, and their associated change requests. It also allows project management to monitor the developing software and know, based on status accounting reports, the contents of versions and releases of software.

3. Guidance

"While the status information can be compiled by hand, it can be a tedious process. Many tools exist that provide an integrated configuration management system for all kinds of documents, including source code, and that can generate the status reports when requested. Some of these tools are free or low-priced." (NASA-GB-8719.13, NASA Software Safety Guidebook 276)

Configuration status accounting generates and/or maintains records of the status and contents of the software throughout the life cycle. This function keeps track of the changes and the contents of versions and releases.  Both the acquirer and the provider need to have a status accounting system. 

When preparing status accounting records, consider the intended audience for those records and prepare them so that the receiver can obtain the information they need quickly and clearly. Consider the following information for CSA records:

  • Stages of incompleteness, correctness, and obsoleteness for each CI.
  • Identify each stage (e.g., draft, under review, ready for integration/delivery, operational, superseded).
  • Status of each CI (version, whether it is checked-out when it was last updated, who made the changes, and what was changed).
  • Status of change requests/problem reports.

The SMA (Safety and Mission Assurance) Technical Excellence Program (STEP) Level 2 Software Configuration Management and Data Management course 343provide a set of questions useful for determining the type of status accounting data that is important to a project. If the answers are important, then the appropriate data needs to be collected and reported as part of CSA. A few of those questions are shown below:

Which versions of which products are installed at which sites?

What are the differences between versions?

What is the version history of each CI in each version of each product?

What documents support each version of each product?

What hardware configuration is required to operate a specific version of each product?

When will the next version of a given CI for a given product be available?

Which versions of which products are affected by a given configuration item revision?

Which revisions of which CIs make up a specific version of a product?

How many errors were reported and/or fixed in each version of each product in a given time period?

Which product versions are affected by a specific problem report?

When establishing status accounting activities, consider coordinating or applying the same concepts as part of data management activities.  A basic description of data management is provided in SWE-079.

Once the information to be captured, collected, and reported has been defined, it is captured in the CM plan (see SWE-079 and SCMP).

NASA users should consult Center Process Asset Libraries (PALs) for Center-specific guidance and resources related to status accounting.

Additional guidance related to status accounting may be found in the following related requirements in this Handbook:

4. Small Projects

Projects with limited personnel and access to an automated CM tool that has reporting features may find that those features are helpful in fulfilling this requirement.

5. Resources

5.1 References

5.2 Tools

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6. Lessons Learned

6.1 NASA Lessons Learned

No Lessons Learned have currently been identified for this requirement.

6.2 Other Lessons Learned

No other Lessons Learned have currently been identified for this requirement.

7. Software Assurance

SWE-083 - Status Accounting
5.1.6 The project manager shall prepare and maintain records of the configuration status of software configuration items. 

7.1 Tasking for Software Assurance

1. Confirm that the project maintains records of the configuration status of the configuration items.

7.2 Software Assurance Products

  • None at this time

    Objective Evidence

    • Evidence that confirmation of Task 1 has occurred, including any issues or risks.

     Definition of objective evidence

    Objective evidence is an unbiased, documented fact showing that an activity was confirmed or performed by the software assurance/safety person(s). The evidence for confirmation of the activity can take any number of different forms, depending on the activity in the task. Examples are:

    • Observations, findings, issues, risks found by the SA/safety person and may be expressed in an audit or checklist record, email, memo or entry into a tracking system (e.g. Risk Log).
    • Meeting minutes with attendance lists or SA meeting notes or assessments of the activities and recorded in the project repository.
    • Status report, email or memo containing statements that confirmation has been performed with date (a checklist of confirmations could be used to record when each confirmation has been done!).
    • Signatures on SA reviewed or witnessed products or activities, or
    • Status report, email or memo containing Short summary of information gained by performing the activity. Some examples of using a “short summary” as objective evidence of a confirmation are:
      • To confirm that: “IV&V Program Execution exists”, the summary might be: IV&V Plan is in draft state. It is expected to be complete by (some date).
      • To confirm that: “Traceability between software requirements and hazards with SW contributions exists”, the summary might be x% of the hazards with software contributions are traced to the requirements.

7.3 Metrics

  • None identified at this time.

7.4 Guidance

The software engineering guidance in SWE-083 (this requirement) provides guidance on the types of configuration records that should be kept. Particularly important are the records of the items and their versions in each baseline, and the records of the configurations that are being delivered and described in the version description documents that accompany a delivery. Confirm that all the configuration management records are being kept and that they are accurate.

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