determine the amount of work required for the next release. And finally tracking each incident will help in lowering the time wasted on redundant issues. Thus Incident Management should be the last block in release management. The first iteration of incident management would be to ensure all incidents are tracked. The second iteration of incident management would be to integrate incident management with change management so that all approved incidents can be tracked with the actual development activities.
An iterative approach to building a release management process provides a method where companies can mitigate the risk involved in large process-reengineering projects. It is rare that a perfect release management process would be implemented in first try. The first iteration of each step should result in having the correct processes and tools in place, such as version control and build tools. The second iteration should result in interaction and integration between the processes and tools, such as the version control tool automatically creating new builds as necessary. Successful implementations are those that are done in phases where each phase is an iteration and each iteration is implemented on the success of the previous.
Tracking and capturing all the data with no means to report on the gathered data is nothing more than just garbage collection. There has to be audit reports created on the modifications, approvals, testing and deployment activities to ensure that any exceptions are identified and resolved. There has to be management reports on current statuses to help predict future release information. And finally, there has to be release reports that would list the content in each deployment, its impact and any issues encountered during or after the release. Setting up a management portal with dynamic reports will help in continuous monitoring. Continuous monitoring will help the company determine the pain spots in the process and resolve them before they spread like a virus in the system.
Release management is a critical part of today’s software development, but is not something that can be implemented overnight. It is important that organizations understand the benefits it can provide and accordingly implement the process from start to finish. By following the approach of iteratively increasing capabilities in the four major blocks of release management, organizations can ramp up their nascent release processes to a fully fledged release management system.
Vibhav Mehrotra is a Principal Architect working for Computer Associates with strong background in software change management. He has 10 years of experience in designing and implementing several software change management solutions for various companies. Vibhav holds a Masters in Business Administration, Bachelors in Computer Science and Associates in Computer Science. In addition, he is Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundation level certified. You can contact Vibhav at [email protected].