MIL-HDBK-61A: Data Management

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9.2 CM Related Data Management Concepts and Principles

Configuration management principles ensure the integrity of digital representations of product information and other data and enhance good data management practice. The concepts are described, as follows, based on elements and principles expressed in EIA Standard 649:

  • Document identification

  • Data status level management

  • Data and product configuration relationships

  • Data version control and management of review, comment, annotation, and disposition

  • Digital data transmittal

  • Data access control.

Each document reflecting performance, functional, or physical requirements or other product related information must be given a unique identifier so that it can be

  • Correctly associated with the applicable configuration (product identifier and revision) of the associated item.

  • Referred to precisely

  • Retrieved when necessary.

With emphasis on the acquisition of commercial products and the use of industry methods, it is inappropriate for the military to specify one format for document identifiers. Except for MIL documents and program unique specifications, whose identifiers are governed by MIL-STDs-961 and 962, document identifier formats are determined by the document originators. Generally they include all or most of the following parameters:

  • Date

  • Assigned numeric or alpha numeric identifier unique to the document

  • Revision indicator

  • Type of document

  • Title or subject

  • Originator/Organization

This listing is substantiated by the following business rule for document identification: [Detail: Figure 9-3. Activity Guideline: Generic Document Identification]

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A document is digitally represented by one or more electronic data files. Each document representation is the complete set of all the individual digital data files (e.g., word processor, CAD/CAM, graphics, database, spreadsheet, software) constituting one document.

As shown in Figure 9-2, the same document can have several different, equally valid, representations such as different word processing or standard neutral formats (IGES, ASCII, SGML-tagged ASCII,). Any individual file such as a raster graphics file, an ASCII file, or a spreadsheet file may be part of several document representations of the same document/same revision; same document/different revision, or different document. The business rules relating documents, documentation representations and files are as follows:

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To facilitate the proper relationships, apply the following digital data identification rules to maintain document, document representation, and file version relationships.:

  • Assign a unique identifier to each file

  • Assign a unique identifier to each document representation

  • Assign a version identifier to each file

  • Maintain, in a database, the relationship between:

  • Document identifier and its revision level

  • Associated document representation(s)

  • File identifiers and versions

  • Retain multiple versions of files as necessary to recreate prior document revisions and provide a traceable history of each document

  • Identify the tool, and version of the tool (e.g., MSWORD 2000) used to generate the document when the document is not in neutral format.

Document status level [See 9.1] is important as a foundation for the business rules defining access, change management, and archiving of digital data documents. It is the basis for establishing data workflow management and enhances data integrity. [Refer back to Figure 9-1.] The standard data life cycle model shows the data status levels (also referred to as states) that a specific document/document revision is processed through in its life cycle.

Data status levels were initially defined in MIL-HDBK-59A (CALS Handbook, now cancelled). They were also defined in MIL-STD-974 "Contractor Integrated Technical Information Services (CITIS)" and in EIA Standard 649. The definitions of data status terms follow; the key changes from the previous definitions are highlighted and rationale for the differences is provided in the attendant footnotes:

  • Working is the status used to identify data (document representations or document revisions) that are in preparation - a work in progress that is subject to unilateral change by the originator. Each design activity may define any number of subordinate states within the working category, to define the unique processes that different document types go through before release in their organization.

  • Released is the status of document representations, and revisions thereto, that have been reviewed and authorized for use (such as for manufacture, or for submittal to, or access by, a customer or supplier). Released data are under originating organization (for example, a contractor) change management rules, which prohibit a new revision of the document representation from replacing a released revision of a document representation until it has also been reviewed and authorized by the appropriate authority. The content of a document representation revision is fixed, once it is in the released state. It is only changed by release of a superseding document representation revision. Once a document (or document revision) is in the approved state, changes are made only by release of a new document representation related to the next document revision.

  • Submitted data is a proposed or approved document revision in the form of a released document representation that has been made available for customer review. This status applies only to data that requires submittal to or access by a customer (usually the Government).

  1. If a submitted document revision that has not been approved, is commented to or disapproved, a new working revision of the related document representation may be started and eventually be submitted to replace the original document representation without affecting the identifier proposed for the new document revision.

  2. If a submitted document revision that has been approved is commented to, or disapproved by the customer, a new working representation of the next document revision may be started and eventually replace the original document revision.

  • Approved is the status of documents and document revisions signifying that the data (document revision) has been approved by the CDCA of the document. The content of a document revision is fixed, once it is in the approved state. It is only changed by approval of a superseding document revision.

  • Some tools include Archived as a data status for document representations and/or documents. This status is independent of the approval status (released, submitted, and approved) and merely means that has the data been removed from an active access storage mode.

No changes are allowed in the document representations that progress to the released state, or in document revisions that progress to the approved state. If there are changes to be made, they are accomplished by the generation and release or approval of a new revision. Documents must have at least one released document representation in order to be approved by the CDCA or submitted to a non-CDCA customer for review and adoption. Some data will exist only at the working level.

Business rules related to document/data status apply to each document type by defining requirements such as the following:

  • Whether submittal to (or access by) customer(s) is required

  • In which application software and data format is submittal/access required

  • Who will be granted access privileges to the data in each of the applicable states

  • What are the approval requirements (reviewers/approvers) and method of approval (e.g., electronic signature) to promote a document to the released state; the approved state

  • What are the archiving rules for this document type (e.g., all released versions upon release of a superseding version, all released versions, 90 days after release of a superseding version, etc.)?

A product data management system must provide an effective system to maintain the key relationships between digital data, data requirements, and the related product configuration so that the correct revision of an item of data can be accessed or retrieved when needed. Data files are related to documents via document representations. [Section 9.2.1] Each product document, with a specific source, document type, document identifier (title, name and number) and document revision identifier, may have the following relationships:

  • Program/project and/or contractual agreement

  • Contract data item identifiers

  • Document revision/change authorization

  • Associated product (hardware or software) name

  • Associated product (end item), part or software identifying number and revision/version identifier, where applicable

  • The effectivity in terms of end item serial numbers for the associated product, part, software item

  • Status (working, released, submitted, approved, archived) of the data [9.2.2]

  • Associated data - document name/document title/document revision number and date

  • Associated correspondence - document number, subject, date, references

The business rules for document retrieval should use these key relationships within a database to assure the integrity of the data that users may extract. Thus information concerning a given product or part is associated with the configuration and effectivity (serial number) of the end item that uses the part. This capability is particularly significant during the operation and support phase, when data is needed to support maintenance activity and to determine the appropriate replacement parts for a specific end item.

Disciplined version control of data files is the prerequisite to effective electronic management of digital documentation and must be encompassed within the product data management software. Version identification [See 9.2.1] occurs whenever a file is changed. The simplest form of version management is the file save feature incorporated in application software, which advances the file date and time identification each time a file is saved. However to retain the superseded version, it must be renamed. True version control business rules require automatic version identifier advance whenever a file is revised and not when the file is saved without change. Furthermore, they require all versions to be retained, subject to archiving guidelines and special rules pertinent to specific document types.

Since a single document representation can consist of many files, a very disciplined process is necessary to manage a document review process electronically. Version control rules facilitate the establishment of an audit trail of comments and annotations by reviewers, and the disposition of each comment. Each version of each document representation provided to, or received from, each reviewer is uniquely identified and associated with the source of the comment. Essentially this means that a reviewer's version of a set of files (document representation) constituting a document being reviewed is re-named to enable the annotated comment copy to be distinguished from the official current version of the document. [Detail: Refer to EIA-649]

Part of the obligation of the sender of any document, regardless of transmission method is to make sure that the document is in a format (document representation) that can be read by the receiver and converted to human readable form. Appropriate identification is affixed to physical media such as floppy disks or tapes to clearly identify its contents. If all of the file identifications cannot be included on the label, a directory, reference to an accompanying listing or to a file is used.

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Access to digital data involves retrieving the appropriate files necessary to compile the correct version of each digital data document, view it, and perform the prescribed processing. Seeking digital data access should be as user-friendly as possible. Users should be provided with data/documents they are entitled to in the correct revision/version. Before this can be accomplished, there are a number of pertinent parameters concerning access privileges, security and protection of data rights that must be set-up.

Access privileges limit access to applicable users. Access privileges vary according to the individual's credentials (security clearance, need to know, organizational affiliation, etc.), data status level, the document type, program milestones, and the user need predetermined from the Government's concept of operations. Users of accessed data must respect all contractual and legal requirements for data rights, security, licenses, copyrights, and other distribution restrictions that apply to the data. The applicable distribution code, which represents the type of distribution statement, must be affixed to a document or viewable file to indicate the authorized circulation or dissemination of the information contained in the item.

Typically, working data should be made available only to the originating individual, group, or team (such as an integrated product development team); or to other designated reviewers of the data. If the Government is a direct participant in the team, the Government team members should be afforded the same access as the other members. In plant Government representatives have the right to request any and all data generated as part of the contract to which they have oversight responsibility; the contractor can determine the means of providing that access. With these exceptions, Government access to digital data (including data retrieved from databases) should be limited to contractually stipulated released, submitted, and approved data.

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There can be multiple representations of a document revision.

Note that released status is reserved for document representation revisions rather than document revisions, thus allowing the enterprise to release and iterate document representations without changing the document revision. This enables representations of proposed revisions to Rev A of a document to be reviewed, revised and reissued several times before a satisfactory Rev B (document) is issued.

This Definition of submitted applies the concept discussed in footnote 2 and recognizes that there are two conditions that apply to submitted data, approved data (see definition) and un-approved data. . The document approval paradigm does not put submitted sequentially after released. If the contractor is the CDCA, it may approve before submitting; it may approve without submitting, it may release a document representation as a draft of the new revision and submit it for review before approving the document. If the contractor is not the CDCA, it must release a document representation before submitting it to the CDCA for approval of the document revision.

As did MIL-HDBK-59, MIL-STD-974, and EIA-649

The definition simply recognizes that archived status is an indicator of the location of the data rather than a true status indicator. Archived is a tool/memory dependant condition.

For correct application of this information, see NOTE on Contents page