Release process management is a crucial aspect of the software development life cycle. It's about how to do release process management and make it more efficient so that you can focus on other tasks. You need to take into account different aspects when implementing your release process.
What is a release management process?
The release management process is a way of handling changes and stages such as management, planning, scheduling, and controlling end to end. The release management process is helpful to foresee requirements those needs and schedule internal and external tasks.
A release management process can also be referred to as product release management, software release management, and version control. A good release management process aims to provide an organized way for releasing changes to products in an efficient manner while maintaining the quality standards of those changes. Organizations often create strict policies and procedures for how releases are planned and executed by assigning roles and responsibilities to accomplish this goal.
Why Release Management is Important?
Release management is vital because it is a crucial part of managing software development projects. It involves planning, executing and tracking the release of software products or project deliverables to an audience, whether internal or external. A successful release meets its goal, achieves its objectives and minimizes negative impacts on business processes by reducing product quality assurance issues and any other problems in the deployment process.
Release management is crucial for the term speed to market to deliver digital products via agile methods by reducing failures.
Practical release management benefits include lower cost, improved customer satisfaction, better team communication, and accountability.
What is the difference between change management and release management?
The purpose of change management is to make sure that changes and adjustments in the environment have a minimum impact on other parts of the system.
The objective of release management is to manage software releases, which can be seen as implementation or a significant modification of a product. Release managers usually deal with version control, managing testing and documentation processes before launching it into production.
What are the four phases of release and deployment management
Here are the four phases of release and deployment management that you have to pay attention to.
1.Release and Deployment Planning
During the release deployment and planning stage, guidelines and objectives have to be clearly defined.
The points below are the most critical points to pay attention to.
- What should be included in the release?
- Who is the target audience of the release?
- What is the appropriate language for the release?
- How will be the deployment process?
- Who are the stakeholders of the release?
- What are the potential risks?
- What are the responsibilities of each individual or team?
- How is the approval process of the release?
2.Creation and Testing
After required approvals for the plans, the release has to be built, and the people in charge start the testing process. All elements of the release plans have to be ready, including documentation.
The following points are important to pay attention at this stage:
- Is the documentation clear enough for developers to build release efficiently?
- Is your organization following the guidelines?
- Are you keeping records of the best and the worst practices to improve processes and avoid unnecessary repetitive work?
- Is testing implemented in each aspect of the release?
The deployment process is the process that you have to make sure that your product is ready to be used since it is the stage of making the application work on a target device. It could be a test server, production environment or user`s device. When the release is handed over to service operations, the deployment process usually ends.
Here are the important points :
- Is your deployment planned adequately in advance?
- Have you identified the potential risks?
- Have you mitigated the potential risks?
- Is your release packed authorized by the change management?
Now it is time to learn from the process and close the release package. It is essential to understand that it is working for you to improve your strategy. We highly recommend you collect feedback from each stakeholder and start a debate.
Here are the important points :
- Have you collected feedback from each stakeholder?
- Are the quality and the performance requirements met?
- Have you documented the errors properly and clearly?
- Have you created channels to transfer knowledge between different teams?
How to improve release process?
Improving the release process is a challenge for many organizations. Many do not know where to start or what they should do first. Here are the ways that can help you improve your release processes.
1. Evaluate the existing release management process
Before improving a process, it is crucial to understand the pain points. Thus, try to pay attention to the issues resulting in an imperfect release management process. Do a quick evaluation of the current people, their performances, capabilities, processes, and release management tool.
2. Improve the Internal Communication Strategy
This is when you should improve the communication and operations team and developer team to shorten feedback processes and understand the stakeholders' responsiveness. Thanks to improved communication and well-defined strategy, it will help teams understand responsibilities and find the points of improvement easier. Keep in mind that your internal communication must be transparent, direct, and open channels for feedback and discussion.
3.Increase the number of testing
Testing your release management process often is one of the fundamental approaches to improve efficiency:
- It will help you to create FAQ documentation to improve your release management process.
- Doing continuous testing and analyzing the results will lead to permanent improvement and efficiency. Do more and more minor testing to identify pain points faster.
- It is easier to do and analyze the results in small testing.
4. Standardize and Automate
Automation will enable your teams to spend less time on repetitive tasks. In other words, your teams will have more time to focus on developing new features rather than focusing on repetitive tasks. Automation and standardization should be implemented to each stage of your release management plans such as development, configurations and testing to be more efficient. Moreover, your inputs and outputs will become consistent.
We also recommend you to read product life cycle management to improve your knowledge about product management!