Systems Engineering

Physical Configuration Audit (PCA)

A Physical Configuration Audit (PCA) is a formal technical review that determines if the configuration of a system or item has met its documented requirements to establish a product baseline. The Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) receives proof from a successful PCA that the product design is stable, the capability satisfies end-user needs, and the production risks are tolerably low.

Checklist: Physical Configuration Audit Checklist – Sept 2017

Purpose of a Physical Configuration Audit (PCA)

The purpose of a PCA is to resolve any discrepancies between the production-representative item that has successfully passed Operational Test and Evaluation (OT&E) and the associated documentation currently under configuration control.

A successful PCA provides the Milestone Decision Authority (MDA) with evidence that the product design is stable, the capability meets end-user needs, and production risks are acceptably low.

Physical Configuration Audit (PCA) Objective

The objective of the PCA is to establish the final product baseline. Any changes after that will have to go through formal configuration management and engineering change proposals.

When to Conduct a Physical Configuration Audit (PCA)

The PCA is conducted prior to the Full-Rate Production Decision Review (FRP DR) during the Production and Deployment (P&D) phase. Smaller elements within the design may have a PCA audit prior to the full system PCA.

A PCA performed during FRP can lose the chance to prevent expensive manufacturing flaws. Even though the system-level PCA usually comes before the FRP DR, other system-element PCAs may be performed at different times before the system-level PCA.

Physical Configuration Audit (PCA) Results

The information that is gathered from a PCA helps in the Full-Rate Production Decision Review (FRP DR) to determine if the system should go into full production. The key information that the PCA provides is:

  • Verify all test deficiencies been resolved.
  • The product baseline is stable and all changes after the PCA have been approved and incorporated.
  • All production-related activities can produce an accurate design.
  • Software and hardware have an established product baseline
  • The manufacturing, quality, test & evaluation, training processes are in place.
  • The product baseline information appropriately represents all hardware and software CIs.
  • The manufacturing procedures, the quality assurance system, the testing and measuring tools, and the training are all properly designed, monitored, and regulated.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/25/2021

Rank: G4.5

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