Best Practices in release management in an agile environment:
- Define criteria for success
Clear acceptance requirements in both releases and testing will to more reliable releases. The criteria for a successful release can’t be subjective. If it is, you can’t learn from your mistakes and continue to iterate on the release management process to figure out what works best. Product owners, quality managers, and release managers need to define key release metrics and agree to acceptance criteria before moving forward with any new project.
- Constantly strive for minimal user impact
Proactive testing, active monitoring and real-time collaborative alerting can help you identify issues during a release – many times before a customer will even notice. Coupled with a collaborative incident response plan, the team can quickly resolve incidents and continue along toward a successful release.
- Get the most from your staging environment
Everyone from product owners to QA should be combing through staging and running tests to identify any issues with a new deployment. As long as your staging environment is nearly identical to production, you can easily find issues in staging before deploying the code to production. A well-designed staging environment will reduce customer impact and help DevOps teams ensure that releases meet acceptance criteria faster.
By moving QA, automation and testing earlier in the development lifecycle, the DevOps team can identify potential issues faster. This reduces the amount of time spent in feedback loops and allows the delivery pipeline to continue moving forward. The more you can integrate testing with development workflows, the easier it will be to maintain a consistent CI/CD pipeline.
- Use automation to your advantage
Whether it’s on the software development, QA, or IT operations side of the fence, automation should be used to reduce human error and make day-to-day operations easier for your people. Allowing your team to spend more time on strategic thinking and less time on day-to-day tasks, you’ll be able to consistently deliver reliable services to your customers.
Immutable programming causes teams to deploy entirely new configurations instead of modifying existing ones, you’ll reduce errors and bugs that could appear from changing current configurations.