Take a Holistic View to Optimize Release Management

Build trust by right-sizing your process using appropriate governance.

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Your Challenge

  • The business demands high service and IT needs to respond. Rapid customer response through efficient release and deployment is critical to maintain high business satisfaction.
  • The lack of process ownership leads to chaotic and uncoordinated releases, resulting in costly rework and poor hand-offs.
  • IT emphasizes tools but release tools and technologies alone will not fix the problem. Tools are integrated into the processes they support – if the process challenges aren’t addressed first, then the tool won’t help.
  • Releases are traditionally executed in silos with limited communication across the entire release pipeline. Culturally, there is little motivation for cross-functional collaboration and holistic process optimization.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Release management is not solely driven by tools. It is about delivering high quality releases on time through accountability and governance aided by the support of tools.
  • Release management is independent of your software development lifecycle (SDLC). Release management practices sit as an agnostic umbrella over your chosen development methodology.
  • Ownership of the entire process is vital. Release managers ensure standards are upheld and the pipeline operates efficiently.

Impact and Result

  • Acquire release management ownership. Ensure there is appropriate accountability for speed and quality of the releases passing through the entire pipeline. A release manager has oversight over the entire release process and facilitates the necessary communication between business stakeholders and various IT roles.
  • Instill holistic thinking. Release management includes all steps required to push release and change requests to production along with the hand-off to Operations and Support. Increase the transparency and visibility of the entire pipeline to ensure local optimizations do not generate bottlenecks in other areas.
  • Standardize and lay a strong release management foundation. Optimize the key areas where you are experiencing the most pain and continually improve.

Contributors

  • Paul Dowman, Founder, OK GROW!
  • Michael Yokota, Founder, Made with Magnolia
  • Ken Piddington, Chief Information Officer and Executive Advisor, MRE Consulting
  • Emilio Chemali, Director of Strategic Business Intelligence and DevOps, MRE Consulting
  • Ben Palacio, Information Systems Analyst, County of Nevada
  • Doug Birgfield, Senior Partner, Agile Wave
  • Alan Page, Principal Software Development Engineer, Microsoft
  • Erik Bjerkelund, Manager of Application Services, Corix
  • Cecil Newton, Director of Systems Development and Infrastructure, San Francisco Health Plan
  • Kenneth Brown, Quality Assurance Manager, Highlights for Children Inc.

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should optimize release management, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Review your release management objectives

    Assess the current state and define the drivers behind your release management optimizations.

  2. Standardize release management

    Design your release processes, program framework, and release change management standards, and define your release management team.

  3. Roll out release management enhancements

    Create an optimization roadmap that fits your context.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a six call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Review your release management objectives

  • Call #1: Align business objectives with technical objectives using release management.

  • Call #2: Discuss root-cause issues of current state release management roles, communication, processes, and tools.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Standardize release management

  • Call #1: Discuss release management target state program framework, team, process, and tools.

  • Call #2: Validate the adaptability and flexibility of the target state.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Roll out release management enhancements

  • Call #1: Review your release management enhancement roll-out plan and metrics to gauge success.

  • Call #2: Review your approach to govern and manage your release management practices.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Review Your Release Management Objectives

The Purpose

  • Reveal the motivators behind the optimization of release management.
  • Identify the root causes of current release issues and challenges.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Ensure business alignment of optimization efforts.
  • Firm grasp of why teams are facing release issues and the impacts they have on the organization.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Identify the objectives for application release.
  • Release management business objectives and technical drivers
1.2 Conduct a current state assessment of release practices.
  • Current state assessment of release processes, communication flows, and tools and technologies

Module 2: Standardize Release Management

The Purpose

  • Alleviate current release issues and challenges with best practices.
  • Standardize a core set of processes, tools, and roles & responsibilities to achieve consistency, cadence, and transparency.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Repeatable execution of the same set of processes to increase the predictability of release delivery.
  • Defined ownership of release management.
  • Adaptable and flexible release management practices to changing business and technical environments.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Strengthen your release process.
  • Processes accommodating each release type and approach the team is required to complete
2.2 Coordinate releases with a program framework.
  • Release calendars and program framework
2.3 Manage release issues with change management practices.
  • Release change management process
2.4 Define your release management team.
  • Defined responsibilities and accountabilities of release manager and release management team

Module 3: Roll Out Release Management Enhancements

The Purpose

  • Define metrics to validate release management improvements.
  • Identify the degree of oversight and involvement of the release management team.
  • Prioritize optimization roadmap against business needs and effort.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Easy-to-gather metrics to measure success that can be communicated to stakeholders.
  • Understanding of how involved release management teams are in enforcing release management standards.
  • Practical and achievable optimization roadmap.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Define your release management metrics.
  • List of metrics to gauge success
3.2 Ensure adherence to standards.
  • Oversight and reporting structure of release management team
3.3 Create your optimization roadmap.
  • Release management optimization roadmap

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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