In the old days, Release Management was about preventing change. Today, it’s about enabling change. Nothing changes the business until you release code into production. If you don’t have a crisp, accurate way of deploying application software changes, then you’ll lose your competitive edge and, possibly, disrupt the business. So, it’s absolutely essential to do it right.
Effective Release Management
An effective Release Management strategy will:
- Improve Release Management efficiency.
- Increase production up-time.
- Ensure compliance.
- Improve communication within Release Management processes.
When you can achieve these four things, change can become more of a competitive weapon for the business, instead of a liability.
Effective Release Management gives you the confidence and competencies to make more changes. For this reason, it’s a great complement to Agile development. You can deliver code changes every 3 to 4 weeks instead of every 6 or 10 or 12 months. And all while ensuring business continuity.
Release Management a Process Problem
Over the last 30 years, I have worked with hundreds of customers on improving their change management. I’ve seen their pain in releasing code into production. I recognized that Release Management wasn’t a tools problem but a process problem due to:
- Poor communication.
- Lack of a central repository for release statuses.
- Long length of time to track root causes of problems.
Everything takes too long, and exposes the business to too much risk.
The Release Management Solution
So we have to build our release management solution on a process-first, tools-second philosophy – one that connects and automates the entire process. The process then drives the right tools by remote control. Because everything is connected, the system provides a single source of truth about releases – a place where everyone involved can go to see exactly what’s happening, right from their Web browsers.
It continues with an end-to-end framework, which connects automated Release Management activities across departmental boundaries, geographies, development methodologies and computing platforms, both mainframe and distributed. It connects all the processes involved, from RFCs through deployment, and provides that all-important top-down view, while leaving key data in their source systems.
With automated policies and a framework in place, you can do things that vastly accelerate and strengthen Release Management. In the future we need to look at how Release Management information can be driven directly into the CMDB in the data center. This will open up a wave of new opportunity to accelerate business change.