ABCs of Release Management


everything needed to get the release into production, the release manager will work with the project manager to ensure that all dependent pieces from other products are ready to support the release in build, test, and production.

Project Manager
The primary role of a project manager is to focus on the tasks to develop a specific set of deliverables (the release). This role effectively establishes and manages the project plan. The deliverables are typically defined by the requirements or fixes that make up a release and the product direction prescribed by the product manager. The project manager should be intimately involved on the project’s change control board (CCB) and aware of any change of scope and direction to the project. The project manager role should manage the internal dependencies of a project and ensure any internal parallel development efforts are integrated effectively as appropriate (for both build and run time).

In many cases, there are other products in which this release is dependent. The project manager is aware of the dependencies and must ensure that the dependency product is ready for them to test against, but it is the release manager role that focuses on ensuring the dependencies are available according to the schedule of the release.

Development Manager
The primary role of a development manager is to focus on the tasks in the design and development phase of the project. This typically includes ensuring that the release is designed according to the architecture and ensuring the requirements are being developed and packaged into a product release. This role typically works for the project manager but is more involved with the details of the development phase of the project lifecycle. If the project is small, then the project manager is often the development manager. However, if the project is large, a development manager is often assigned to coordinate the design and development related tasks so that the project manager may more effectively manage the overall project. Also, with development being moved offshore, often times the project manager is at the primary site and the development manager is at the offshore site. In these cases, it is recommended that a development manager is assigned to manage the developers at the offshore site, but directly reporting to the project manager. With time zone and cultural differences, it can be very effective to have a local development manager at an offshore site to ensure the offshore development staff is working toward the project goals.

Release Manager
The primary role of a release manager is to focus on the details of bringing together the various dependent product components to satisfy a release. This role also focuses on coordinating the requirements, testing, and release schedules of other products so that they are available to work with this product release. The release manager will also participate on the CCB in order to be aware of what changes are occurring to the release and may participate occasionally on the CCB of co-dependent product releases so that changes may be discussed. This role may also communicate any challenges or impacts to external products in relation to managing the internal dependencies. In general, this role focuses more on the details of release scheduling and may lead the release related meetings.

The role of the release manager is sometimes confused with that of the release engineer. A release engineer primarily focuses on the building, packaging, and migrating of the release into production. In some cases, a separate role of build engineer will focus on building and packaging a release and a release engineer focuses on migrating the release through test

About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

Mario Moreira is a Columnist for the CM Journal, a writer for the Agile Journal, an Author, an Agile and CM expert for CA, and has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the Agile field since 1998. He has experience with numerous CM technologies and processes and has implemented CM on over 150 applications/products, which include establishing global SCM infrastructures. He is a certified ScrumMaster in the Agile arena having implemented Scrum and XP practices. He holds an MA in Mass Communication with an emphasis on communication technologies. Mario also brings years of Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Requirement Management, facilitation, and team building skills and experience. Mario is the author of a new book entitled “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams” (via Wiley Publishing). It provides an Agile Primer and a CM Primer, and how to adapt CM practices for Agile Teams. Mario is also the author of the CM book entitled, “Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap.” It includes step-by-step guidance for implementing SCM at the organization, application, and project level with numerous examples. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at

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