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Release Management Demystified: The Workings of a Necessary Evil or the Holy Grail of Software Development

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Featured image for Release Management Demystified: The Workings of a Necessary Evil or the Holy Grail of Software Development

Release management can have different effects on the members of the organizational hierarchy depending on their position and responsibilities. It is a necessary step in the software development process. It can signify different things for the development team and the production management team. Release management can involve a new product or the update of old working software.

Why does every software development company require release management?

Any IS&T Company worth its salt has a standing release management team that runs the checks on the codes before the production. Today, release management is becoming a ubiquitous part of several industries that deliver their products and services through digital models. Even a couple of years ago, release management used to encompass everything in a software’s life cycle. Right now, the connotations of the term have changed a little to accommodate the modern digital products and services trends –
  1. Release management takes the existing code from a program
  2. It builds the code for a test environment
  3. The process fosters the code testing
  4. Then, it puts the code into production
These four steps form the basis of any release management process. During these steps the managers record, and analyze the events.

What are the essential steps that define release management?

Release management shares a close relationship with the change management process in any IS&T organization. As a result, these two processes share more than one step. Five stages make up the release management process to ensure that the final product is flawless and updated.
  • Release and deployment planning: This is the critical planning step of the entire process. High efficiency in planning reflects upon the consequent production and deployment phases.
  • Building and testing: How can there be a software production process without building and testing? Depending upon the previous step, the management and development team release the packages, build them and test them respectively. Bug fixing and software updating are parts of this process.
  • Updating the media library: The release managers update the media library. It is a virtual repository for the storage of the tested configurations only. The fecundity of the previous two steps determines which new elements find space in the media library.
  • Deployment of new packages: This step involves the deployment of the released, built and tested software packages. After each change, the managers check the updates into the media library, and only then the deployment of the new service packages take place.
  • Review and close: The end of each deployment commences the review and close phase. The post-implementation review is a part of this step. It reviews the new service deployment before it heads to the production stages.
  • Determine stages and controlling activities: As releases travel through their key phases, integrated gates and milestones, at a physical level work packages are being advanced through different environments for various types of testing and validation. In this way, a transparent baseline of the environments, just as a reasonable comprehension of the sythesis of work packages, counteracts critical adjust.
  • Enable continuous communication: Where conceivable, guarantee that information identified with the progress of the release is accessible in a frictionless manner. At the end of the day, all gatherings ought to have an arrangement of record to get to the information they need in real-time.
  • Track metrics: Consistently monitor start to finish release status by following significant metrics. It's fundamental that your group comprehends the business value of your release management function to spur them to meet and surpass desires.
Release Management Demystified

The presence of a robust release management process enables the production, and development team to monitor the value of the services to the customers of the software service package. There might come a time when today's service package loses its importance to the company. The five critical steps of the release management process help the corporate decision makers determine the right time to retire a particular set of services.

How can your team improve an existing software release management process?

Release management involves the overall update, review, and deployment planning of service packages. It is an intrinsic and indispensable process for an organization. Without release management, an organization risks losing significant market share. If your software release management process is too expensive or extensive, you need to think about smart ways to improve it.

Here are a few things the leading software development companies do to streamline their release management process.

Regularization of the release cycle

It is imperative for any software development company to have a complete understanding of their release management process. With that knowledge, they establish a regular release cycle. A number of factors including the cycles of non-functional testing and the length of each test will determine the frequency of the release cycles.

Establishing lightweight processes

The lightweight processes usually need minimum input and output, without the hassle of bureaucratic approvals. The accurate documentation of the testing and building help the teams understand which elements of the entire process requires improving and reviewing.

Development of a release infrastructure in advance

The release infrastructure puts the requirements of the software building and deployment in the forefront. It encompasses storage, hardware, bandwidth, software licenses, network connections, access permissions, and user profiles. It will help you unveil the hidden bottlenecks in your software development process or the missing skills before the service package goes into mass deployment.

Automation and standardization

Automation has become a part of every software review and development process. Standardization of the automation process will help you craft a deployment package. Enforcement of the standardized structure will enable the building of the software packages according to a consistent structure at every release point.

When we spoke to Vinod Jethwani, an entrepreneur, he said "the improvement of hardware, software and automation can take an organization only so far. You need to invest in the people – the team members, who commit to the development and deployment of the service packages. Without their commitment, sustainable success of a software release will remain a dream."

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