IT Governance

7 Habits of Highly Effective Release Managers

Release management is a big deal, in that it is usually the thing underscoring statements like, “Ugh, I hate the new version that just came out!” Of course, a release manager’s goal is to get people to say the exact opposite of that. So in a post at his blog, Joe the IT Guy discusses seven things release managers can do to work toward better releases:

  1. Understand the difference between change and release.
  2. Have a release policy.
  3. Master planning.
  4. Standardize as much as you can.
  5. Use quality gates as enablers, not blockers.
  6. Transform services.
  7. Use reviews to make improvements.

Releasing Quality

The difference between change and release management is that change is concerned with day-to-day improvements, whereas releases are targeted at providing a larger-scale improvement to operations. Releases are also framed such that a change advisory board (etc.) does not need to get involved. However, for release management to be successful, there must be a release policy. A good policy will consider release identification, frequency, requirements, and the levels of governance needed to support it.

As is a common recommendation these days, Joe says to automate whatever you practically can about releases, because the long-term payoff will be significant. He then discusses the role of quality gates in release management:

Put simply, quality gates are a way of enabling your release to move through the process quickly and safely making sure that all the quality criteria have been met. These are a set of predefined quality criteria that a software development project must meet in order to proceed from one stage of its lifecycle to the next.

Quality gates speed up the acceptance process by automating checks, standardizing tasks, and reducing cycle time because the release manager is getting it right first time.

The ultimate goal of release management is to enable new efficiencies for the business, which means you should be thinking about how to transform services—not just tweak them. And once you have unleashed the release, the next step should be to conduct a post-implementation review. This review will steer the way for the next round of improvements.

For further elaboration on these ideas, you can view the original post here:

John Friscia

John Friscia was the Editor of Computer Aid's Accelerating IT Success from 2015 through 2018. He began working for Computer Aid, Inc. in 2013 and grew in every possible way in his time there. John graduated summa cum laude from Shippensburg University with a B.A. in English.

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