Wrangling a Release: The Role of Release Manager


Release management becomes particularly effective for companies that have multiple products that must work together as a solution.  When a release is dependent on external factors to make a release successful, then release management should be applied to make the co-dependencies align. This opens up the visibility into delivery processes and reduces the silo effect so that parallel development and dependent product development have insight into requirements, timelines, and changes. While some releases are self-contained within the deliverables of a project, many releases (aka, solution releases) need items from other products in order to work effectively (at either the build or run time). The coordination must begin as early as the requirements phase of the project release. This is to ensure that there is lead-time for all of the co-dependent pieces to be developed together, tested, and operate effectively prior to the release date.


Comparing Roles in More Detail

Let us take a moment to take a look in more detail at the comparable roles and responsibilities of the release manager with the project manager and product manager.   It should be clear that some of the tasks associated with these roles may overlap. For example, on a single project release of one product, the project manager may play the role of the release manager.  However, as soon as there are dependencies of a product to other products and they must work well together and even be released together, then someone must be made available to manage all of these interdependencies across products and their projects therein.


It is important that all roles work well together.  As an example, a product manager needs to ensure the project manager has everything needed to get the release into production, while 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.  To get a better view of how the roles work together, I have provided a high-level diagram indicating the primary focus areas of each role.


Project Manager

The primary role of a project manager is to focus on the tasks to develop a specific set of project deliverables for one product (e.g., singular release).  This role establishes and

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 http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/.

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