Navigating Across Agile, DevOps and ITIL with Enterprise Release Management

Large enterprises are under pressure from the marketplace to increase business agility. Failing to do so, could impact market share, competitiveness and financial stability. This translates into delivering higher quality software faster. But the complexity of large enterprise IT produces many challenges. Enterprise IT often supports hundreds of applications across different types of systems that are developed using different methodologies by geographically dispersed teams. There is no single delivery pipeline or release process, there are many, often operating at different speeds from manual to automated, and all operating under a mandate of regulatory compliance.

Gartner recommends that these enterprises take a bimodal IT approach which is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery; one focused on stability (mode1), and the other on agility (mode2).  Bimodal IT and Gartner’s pace-layered application strategy illustrate the challenges and complexities facing application delivery in large enterprises as stability and agility should not be mutually exclusive.  This is where enterprise release management can help. Enterprise release management can provide a mechanism to support bimodal IT across the pace-layered architecture that exists in large enterprise IT. It is a place where Agile, DevOps and ITIL can converge and enable large IT organizations to move faster and not break things.

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It is very common for large, highly regulated enterprises (HRLEs) to have formal release management teams that help plan, coordinate, and track application releases from development to production. These teams are the bridge between Dev and Ops and present an opportunity to leverage release management best practices and the DevOps principles of culture, automation, measurement, and sharing that can translate into major reductions in cycle times and better reliability of your application releases. The release managers’ job function is to identify all the items that need to be coordinated, managed, scheduled, and planned across teams and applications for a release. They collaborate with Dev, Test and Ops teams and communicate status and impacts to senior IT executives and the business community. They can be and should be your biggest DevOps advocate.

The release management process is also an important part of any DevOps initiative in these large enterprise IT organizations. It should scale to support small to large and slow to fast delivery pipelines, supporting formalized release trains as well as continuous delivery. The key is to have a process that supports the dynamic nature and variable speeds of enterprise IT. The release management process also provides a unified view of the process and state across all participants with traceability and compliance to support any regulatory mandates.

Improving application delivery in large enterprise IT is a critical requirement to removing IT as a constraint to the business. Enterprise Release Management can be a way to deliver software in a fast, efficient, and reliable manner.

Greg Hughes, Serena Software’s CEO goes into more depth about release management best practices in his CM Crossroads article entitled, “6 Steps to Bridge DevOps with Release Management in the Enterprise”. Also, on January 22nd, join us at the DevOps Drive-in as we discuss “Agile, DevOps and ITIL: Implementing Enterprise Release Management with Agility and Control” .

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