CVS is a tool for improving project development and system maintainence. Like all tools, there are ways to make your use of it more effective. Here are some tricks for using CVS well:
Synchronize the clocks of computers sharing a repository to the same universal time. CVS relies on file timestamps to determine which files have changed.
Give each developer his own sandbox, and communicate all file changes through CVS. This maintains change tracking and prevents developers from irretrievably overwriting each other's work.
Programming teams: use build-management tools and ensure that all files in the build are committed to the repository. Ensure that builds for testing or release come from the repository rather than a sandbox, but allow sandbox builds for programmers to do pre-alpha tests.