Release Management, the Super Discipline


An effective way of using this approach is to turn the release management context into a graphical map where the tasks of various disciplines are placed in context to each other and to the overall release lifecycle. Consider several high-level steps for each phase of a release lifecycle and then identify the attributes (step name, the role responsible for the task, the procedure used, the tool used, and the intended output).

From this, divide the high-level tasks into more meaningful low-level tasks. For example, identify and approve requirements (as seen above) would be divided into the following tasks: identify requirements, estimate requirements, prioritize requirements by release, and approve requirements. If an attribute of a task is missing, this is a good method for identifying areas of improvement (if a procedure doesn’t exist, then this can be an improvement activity). This can be an effective way of introducing the disciplines to a project team and their inter-relationships with other disciplines. Also, at the beginning of a project lifecycle, this can be an efficient way of introducing the project team to the roles, tools, procedures, and expected output of a project release.

Ultimately, release management provides an overall roadmap on which different disciplines, and specifically the tasks that support those disciplines, can be placed. The next time you are looking to introduce disciplines as they relate to a release and a project team, consider using the release management approach as a super-discipline to provide the context so that each discipline may be more easily understood and utilized effectively with other disciplines to the overall success of the project release. It will provide an overall picture of the task in relation to a procedure, tool, role, and output; a stronger focus on the release; and a model for the engineering disciplines to easily fit and work together.

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