Gloria Metrick takes on “Configuration” Versus “Customization” on The Integrated Lab.
I agree with her definitions and to some extent frustration with the mis-use of the term, as I think it causes customers to get misled – intentionally or otherwise – by the sales team.
At the risk of provoking Gloria I will confess that we’ve coined the term “Configlet” in PatentSafe, which is “One or two lines of code which do something customer-specific”. PatentSafe has a whole bunch of places where it can call these Configlets and it is proving to be a really easy way to make the system extremely flexible without being overly complex. You can do pretty much anything in Confliglets and people are, which is quite pleasing even if we do get surprised sometimes!
I wouldn’t call this kind of stuff Configuration – you’re writing code, even if it is just a little bit of code. But we don’t consider it to be fully-fledged Customisation, at term we use for “We needed to get really intimate with the product’s source code and do things specifically for this customer”. Configlets are sort of in between the two, as they are generally fairly straightforward and often portable between customers.
As an aside, we are planning to create a library of Configlets for customers to build on/copy.