Release management refers to the process of planning, designing, scheduling, testing, deploying, and controlling software releases. It ensures that release teams efficiently deliver the applications and upgrades required by the business while maintaining the integrity of the existing production environment.
In the competitive, dynamic, and fluid world of business and IT, half-baked releases are the last thing you need. The modern enterprise is a truly dynamic environment; and not all these changes are happening at the same pace. IT organizations need a way to orchestrate these myriad changes. That’s where release control and deployment automation come in to play. They help ease the transition to continuous delivery; and work through the Digital Transformation one release at a time. This is the new normal of IT.
What is Release Management in ITIL?
Release and Deployment management is one of the main processes under the Service Transition section of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework. ITIL is the most widely adopted framework for the governance of technology products and services. It helps organizations deliver their products and services in a quality-driven, customer-centric and cost-conscious way.
What is Release the Management Process?
The specific steps of release management will vary depending on the unique dynamics of each organization or application. Nevertheless, the following sequence is the most common.
Release management starts with requests for new features or changes to existing functions. There’s no guarantee that all requests made will eventually translate into a new release. Each request is evaluated for its rationale, feasibility, and whether there’s a way to fulfill it by reconfiguring the application version already in production.
This is the most important step in a release’s evolution. It’s here that the release’s structure is defined. A robust plan ensures the release team stays on track and that requirements are satisfied. Create or reuse a workflow or checklist that can be referred to by stakeholders throughout the release process. The workflow should detail not just scope and milestones but responsibilities.
Design and Build
This is the programming phase where the requirements are converted to code. The release is designed and built into executable software.
Once the release is deemed ready for testing, it’s deployed to a test environment where it’s subjected to non-functional and functional testing (including user acceptance testing or UAT). If bugs are found, it’s sent back to developers for tweaking then subjected to testing again. This iterative process continues until the release is cleared for production deployment by both the development team and the product owner.
The release is implemented in the live environment and made available to users. Deployment is more than just installing the release. It entails educating users on the changes and training them on how to operate the system in the context of the new features.
Post-deployment, the release moves to the support phase where any bugs are recorded that will eventually necessitate a request for changes. The cycle thus begins again.
What are Release Management Success Indicators?
For a release to be deemed successful, it must attain the following objectives:
It’s deployed on time.
It’s deployed within budget.
It has little to no impact on current users.
It satisfies the needs of current and new users, technological advances and/or competitive demands.
You Don’t Have to Start from Scratch
Almost every organization has some element of release management in its application management process.
However, for a business without a formal release management policy and procedure, a good starting point is to look for these existing aspects of release management that can form the building blocks for an organization-wide release management framework.
How Micro Focus helps with Release Management
Micro Focus understands the challenges of Release Management and has been in this business for more than a decade. We enable you to achieve quick wins by immediately automating manual deployment tasks. Based on our extensive customer success experiences, we have assembled release management solutions that allow you to mature your organization into a coordinated, process driven, highly visible human workflow at the pace best suited for you.
Release Control is an integral part of the Micro Focus Orchestrated IT solution set, which extends from initial planning, through development, and into IT service management, for distributed, cloud, and mainframe environments. Orchestrated IT means streamlined IT processes that deliver applications faster, improve IT service performance, and lower overall IT costs. The Micro Focus family of orchestrated IT products works together to deliver the speed, automation, and control demanded by today’s application development and IT operations organizations. Micro Focus has helped thousands of IT organizations make dramatic improvements to their application development processes by ensuring greater visibility, faster time to market, higher stakeholder satisfaction, and lower development costs.
Deployment Automation seamlessly enables deployment pipeline automation reducing cycle times and providing rapid feedback on deployments and releases across all your environments. Supporting continuous delivery and production deployments, Deployment Automation provides the capability to automate the deployment and configuration of your applications or services to target environments within your deployment pipeline. With Deployment Automation, you will be able to deliver high-quality, valuable software in an efficient, fast, and compliant manner. All at a lower cost.
Micro Focus offers the most comprehensive end-to-end solution for planning, tracking, and releasing applications into production. With these products, organizations can improve release visibility, increase release flow, reduce production downtime, and simplify compliance. Customers who are using Micro Focus’s comprehensive release management solutions are already realizing dramatic results – much shorter deployment times, greater visibility, fewer application errors, and complete auditability.
Best Practices in Application Release Management and Deployment Automation
Find out how to build on the success of automation by optimizing toolchains, simplifying handoffs, and standardizing processes. Adopting key best practices will accelerate your DevOps transformation.