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What is Release Management (RM)?

Need to manage release management and want practical standards and best practices for information management governance and accountability?

Release management is a key component of the change managementRelease Management process, which provides a disciplined process for introducing changes into the production environment with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

What standards and best practices are required?

The change management process should:
  • Plan production changes resulting from approved change requests;
  • Build effective release packages for the deployment of one or many changes into production;
  • Test release mechanisms to ensure minimum disruption to the production environment;
  • Review preparation for the release to ensure maximum successful deployments; and
  • Deploy the change in line with structured implementation guidelines.
What roles and responsibilities are involved?
  • Release Manager is responsible for managing the release, which includes:
    • Planning for the change;
    • Ensuring user acceptance tests have been completed; 
    • Verifying training has been provided to the affected user community if needed;
    • Validating the back-out plan;
    • Staging the pilot tests; and 
    • Implementing the full deployment of the change. 
What are the release process steps?
  • Plan Release. Deploying a release into the production environment involves risks to the availability and reliability of that environment.
All stakeholders need to be aware of the potential risks involved in the deployment.

Recognizing this, the release manager should ensure that the appropriate managers agree on, and sign off on, the release delivery document before the release moves into the design and build phase.

The objective of this process step is to complete a release delivery plan that will identify:
    • Release objectives;
    • Roles and responsibilities;
    • Tasks and activities;
    • Deliverables;
    • Communication and training plans; and
    • Release schedule
  • Build Release. The objective of this task is to identify and develop the processes, tools, and technologies required to deploy the release. The release build process: 
    • Selects a suitable release mechanism for the change that is a strategic fit, is repeatable, and is consistent;
    • Designs and builds a release package for the change that allows it to be successfully deployed;
    • Tests that the release package delivers the change effectively in line with requirements; and
    • Updates the configuration item control database with appropriate release documentation.
  • Test Release. The acceptance testing process: 
    • Tests the release process to ensure that all components can be migrated correctly;
    • Tests the user functionality to ensure that the release meets user specified requirements;
    • Performs controlled pilot testing in the production environment where necessary; and
    • Evaluates acceptance-testing results to make a confident decision to move toward release preparation.
  • Prepare Release. The release preparation process:
    • Ensures that adequate resources are available for deployment of the release;
    • Ensures that release communications plans have been executed;
    • Ensures all training has been completed;
    • Confirms the production environment readiness for receiving the release;
    • Reviews the preparation of the release for deployment into the production environment; and
    • Ensures the change management process has handled all related changes. 
  • Deploy Release. The deployment process involves the physical migration of objects into the production environment using the procedures defined in the Release Package.
Deployment should only occur if the CMT authorizes Readiness.

Release management provides a disciplined process for releasing changes into the production environment with minimal disruption to ongoing operations.

It is critical that a release plan be created and adopted by all information management projects.

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