Release management: definition, objective and operation

Release management: definition, objective and operation

the release management, management of releases in French, is a global vision of all the development processes of a product or an IT service. The company in the IT sector, which markets a web application, business software or any other IT infrastructure, works continuously to design new products and services on the one hand, to make changes to the existing one on the other hand, for the purposes of upgrading, updating, adding features or even fixing bugs.

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Release management allows the company to structure each project from the identification of the need to the distribution of the product or service to the end user.

The goal of release management

Release management reconciles strategic and technical aspects throughout the SDLC development cycle of the IT infrastructure, to market a product with high value for both the user and the company. Each team involved in the process has the overall vision of the project. Deadlines, budget, continuous availability of the product or even customer satisfaction: the management of production releases thus makes it possible to implement the project in the best possible conditions of efficiency. Unlike Agile or DevOps methods, which favor the accelerated deployment of software, release management decompartmentalizes functions to focus on the quality of the result. Long-term forecasts, project planning, controls in real environment: everything is taken into consideration, the cycle is controlled from production to consumption of the finished product.

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Release management offers several notable benefits:

  • Understanding of risk: the standardization of processes, specific to release management, contributes to identifying the risks associated with developments, in order to eliminate them upstream.
  • Control of deployment: To the extent that technical and non-technical teams are aligned on a common objective and processes, the deployment of software becomes more fluid.
  • User Satisfaction: Iterative test and control processes ensure product performance on the user side, increasing customer satisfaction. This is why it will be essential to monitor user feedback after the product or service has been put on the market.

How does release management work?

Release management is guided by ITIL best practices. It is about deploying installation standards in production, and making the product work in such a way as to obtain customer value. Several steps are necessary as part of the management of releases:

  1. Emergence of the need: the company identifies the need to create software, to develop a new functionality or a new component, to update a web application, to release an advanced version or an upgrade, or to correct a bug on a business interface. This need is evaluated in terms of feasibility and profitability, having regard to the company’s strategy.
  2. Implementation of the calendar: the tasks are planned in time and distributed among the different teams involved in the project.
  3. Design: this concrete application phase involves the developers, to implement the creation, modifications or improvements as previously planned.
  4. Testing and corrections: checks are carried out at various stages of development, in a test environment. The necessary fixes are made to avoid bugs, with the aim of guaranteeing the quality of the user experience.
  5. Deployment: after inspection of the finalized product, and verification of its conformity with the characteristics of the project, the software is deployed to the end customer. During this phase, particular attention is paid to the continuity of service: the availability of the existing software must not be impacted.
  6. Operation: the company sets up commercial and technical monitoring to anticipate future developments.
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