Configuration Baseline

What Does Configuration Baseline Mean?

A configuration baseline is a fixed reference in the development cycle or an agreed-upon specification of a product at a point in time. It serves as a documented basis for defining incremental change and encompasses many different aspects of the product. It is the center of an effective configuration management program whose purpose is to give a definite basis for change control in a project by controlling various configuration items like work, features, product performance and other measurable configuration. Basically, it is a clearly defined specification that is considered the baseline for all changes that follow.


A configuration baseline is also known simply as a baseline.

Techopedia Explains Configuration Baseline

There are different types of configuration baselines depending on the context such as software, hardware and others. The technical baseline is one of these and includes user requirements, program and product information, and related documentation for all configuration items. It consists of the following baselines:

  • Functional baseline — A baseline which defines the functionality requirements of the system or the system specifications and its interface characteristics. It simply documents the system’s capability, functionality and overall performance at the minimum.
  • Allocated baseline — Defines the configuration items that compose the system and how it is being distributed or allocated across the lower-level configuration items. The performance of each configuration item in this baseline is described in its preliminary design specification.
  • Product baseline — Contains the selected functional and physical documentation which are needed for the different kinds of testing of the configuration item.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…