Wrangling a Release: The Role of Release Manager


Release Engineer

Because the role of release engineer often gets confused with the role of the release manager, a special focus on the release engineer role is included.  The release engineer is primarily focused on the build, package, and release responsibilities focused around project deliverables.  The release engineer role is fairly technical and focused on utilizing compilers, continuous build technologies, development technology build mechanisms, the ability to establish build processes, understand parallel and continuous build concepts and how to implement them.  They also tend to be focused on packaging the build deliverables and migrating them through the remainder of the release lifecycle into production.  This includes the ability to automate the process of packaging of the build deliverables, database deliverables, and other deliverables needed to establish a run-time testing environment into a release package or the skills to perform this task manually and the ability to automate the migration process to production.  So you can see that the release engineer role is fairly technical and focused on the back-end of a project lifecycle getting the deliverables 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 and into production whether that is installing the deliverables onto a production server or creating the master media by which duplicate copies can be made available.


Release Manager

The primary role of a release manager is to focus on the details of bringing together the various interdependent products to satisfy a complex or solution based release. This role focuses on coordinating the requirements, testing, and release schedules of other products so that they are available to work with any specific product that comprise that release. The release manager will participate on any change control boards (CCB) of the waterfall type projects and in sprint planning or scrum of scrums on agile type projects in order to be aware of what changes are occurring across the release (and projects therein). 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 the broad release and should participate in or lead any release related meetings.


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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