when you need them. Some key areas where release management can help an agile project track dependencies include:
· Facilitates the sharing of the agile project's requirements/stories to other projects/products that may be impacted.
· Ensures that other products' requirements/stories that impact the agile project are known by the agile project.
· Communicates changes to requirements/stories to and from the other dependent products (and projects therein).
· Ensures that parallel and external deliverables arrive at the appropriate time (build time deliverables, run time deliverables, etc.)
The Product Manager and Release Manager Roles
The product manager (or product owner in agile) should focus on product direction, continuous interaction with customers, prioritizing the functionality, becoming a champion of the methods and practices used, and removing roadblocks for the project team. Essentially, their focus is the product they own and manage. However, as is the case in most products, they may have dependencies to other products and services. This is where the role of release manager can significantly help the product manager.
The primary role of the release manager is to focus on the details of bringing together the various dependent components to satisfy the needs of a release. In an agile world, this may include ensuring that requirements or stories that are needed for a successful release that are outside the control of the project are delivered to the product manager that owns the functionality and a timely delivery back to the agile project occurs. It may also include working with service organizations to ensure that the service is available when needed. And more significantly, the interdependent products and services are typically either waterfall or hierarchical in nature so the release manager can investigate ways to align the different methods and practices used across dependent products and services so that the release and future releases have an easier time integrating and providing for each other.
Additional tasks that a release manager will handle are: helping coordinate requirements/story sharing across product lines; coordinating integration, functional, and acceptance testing across product lines; participating on other product lines change control boards (for more traditional projects) or early iteration discussions (for agile projects) and communicating challenges and impacts to external products or services.