Release management is the promotion of software solutions into the product environment and controlling the flow of change in that field. Namely, one of the chief goals of organizations is to align the non-production and testing practices with the release strategy. Thus, enterprise release management is a business mainspring for any company which implements IT programs on a regular basis. There are many moving parts to keep an eye on, but the benefits that can be reaped are opulent.
The bottom line
Enterprise release management is a driving force behind growth prospects such as customer acquisition, satisfaction and service. The first step towards the refinement is to identify the key performance indicators (KPI) and lay the groundwork for their evaluation and tracking. This gives a sense of purpose and directions, reducing or eliminating the waste of resources, and tedious rework. Moreover, stakeholders are able to gain insight into a way those releases affect the provision of services, improve resource planning, and ultimately, company’s bottom line.
Revise and release
Next, one has to conduct a review of the existing enterprise release management process. The analysis must encompass the current tools, human resources and procedures. Of course, these core business components must work in synergy: A capable, goal-oriented team tackles clearly defined tasks, and is able to use a versatile toolset towards those ends. In addition, different delivery teams must have open lines of communication with each other, and the organization itself should make information accessible and available to all stakeholders and suppliers.
Step by step
Furthermore, enterprise software release management plays out in different stages, each marked by specific tools, goals and dynamics. They are bound by the tenets of transparency and comprehensible control mechanisms. The process moves through key milestones, and the workload follows it, taking on various testing and validation projects. Note that the releases themselves vary in terms of size and composition, including new systems, projects and programs, as well as minor enhancements (BAU change requests) and minor defect fixes (BAU service requests).
On a schedule
Enterprise release involves the periodic release cycles. A proper release strategy must identify the cycles, and ensure that child releases and work packages are produced at the same time, on a designated date. Companies need to keep up the pace with regular windows and deliver the features to customers in regular intervals. Now, the cadence of the releases is often set on a monthly or quarterly basis, but is always influenced by the complexity of the IT domain and responsiveness requirements. The most important thing is to carry out regular tweaks based on the lessons learned.
Stakeholders are another vital piece of the success formula. They must be engaged via principles of prioritization of the outstanding feature requests, as well as release composition. This includes the allocation of requests to future releases, all while focusing on next release rather than ones further into the future. Hence, all stakeholders should take part in delivery of products and services, introduction of new functionalities, and satisfying the needs of all clients. It goes without saying that this calls for an agile approach, deep understating of interdependencies, as well as managing conflicts between competing initiatives.
Unleashing the full potential
Enterprise release management is a dynamic field of software engineering, a path of continuous improving. Companies are under pressure to come up with regular structured releases that dispel any doubt that customers will receive what they paid for. To nail this objective, it is highly advisable to invest time and resources in forming a secure, integrated and complex IT environments, and establish the transparent baseline for them. This is also a process of trial and error, and must be handled by capable personnel. Remember that all phases of release management must be in place in order to enhance the operations and gain an edge in the market.