Posted by: Jeff Timmins | June 7, 2010

RM Charter #2 (ITIL based)

Document brief

The following document applies what is needed today for Release Management to the ITIL Standard found at http://www.itlibrary.org/index.php?page=Release_Management.

Release Management Introduction

The function of Release Management in a SaaS organization includes the coordination & management of code deployments, the tools used for deployments, tracking those changes within the organization and provides a Checks & Balances system for Releases.

To that end Release Management is responsible for interacting with Product Management, Engineering & Network Operations related to all Releases, tracking Release deployment details (when, where, why), documentation related to deployments and leading the deployment tools team.  A successful Release Management system is critical to the success of a SaaS company due to the continually changing environment it requires.

Coordination & Management of code deployments includes:

  • Managing the Definitive Software Library (DSL, where master copies of all software – internally created & 3rd party – are stored)
  • Documentation related to deployments
  • Providing Environments for QA to use for various testing as well as conducting validation deployments in Pre-Production systems
  • Coordinating Product, Engineering & Network Operations needs related to future Releases as well as issues with current Releases
  • Coordinating the Release schedule

Management of the deployment tools includes:

  • Coordinating with various groups to create a backlog for deployment tools improvements
  • Working thru the backlog to deliver timely and valuable improvements to the whole deployment process

Tracking code change includes:

  • Deployment tracking (when changed, where changed, how changed, why changed, who changed it)
  • Version tracking (versions available)
  • Problems resulting from update and their resolutions

Checks & Balances system includes:

  • Confirming that completed Users Stories are deployed on schedule
  • Understanding customer and operational impact of the Release

Release Management Details
Mission Statement
Provide Release information for SaaS solution(s), taking a holistic (people, process, technology) view which considers all aspects of a change including planning, communications and deployment activities so that customers usage of the solution is impacted as little as possible.

Process Goal
Achieve the process mission by implementing

  • ITIL-aligned Release Management policies, processes and procedures
  • Collaboration with those organizations outside of the Technology group that represent our customers and ensure impacted stakeholders are involved and that the service is appropriately tested (from a customer’s perspective) following implementation
  • What is planned for a Release is actually shipped
  • Dedicated Release Manager
  • Analyze impacts (internal and external) for all Releases to and coordinate efforts between internal teams
  • A set of standard repositories for maintaining all authorized versions of software (DSL)

Critical Success Factors (CSFs)
The Critical Success Factors (CSFs) are:

  • Producing Operable Deployment Solutions
  • Controlling Releases to Production
  • Insuring the implementation of Releases into Production on-time and error free
  • Reduce “time of impact” for Releases
  • Implement Release Management as a Service

Key Activities

The key activities for this process are:

  • Maintains Release calendar (including off-limits dates) and assists with Release Planning for various sites
  • Sprint Review member for each Development team
  • Maintains Dogfood & Beta systems (validation of deployment directions)
  • Coordinate Release acceptance
  • Part of Checks & Balances process, confirming that what Product wants is deployed in Production
  • Create deployment documentation for QA, Network Operations & Onsite customers and internal technical notes for Customer Success
  • Maintains understanding of Release Software and Hardware requirements & issues that could impacts the Release
  • Leads Deployment Tools team and increase automation where possible
  • Leads Technical Launch Team to communicate details of each Release as well as conducts Retrospective post Release
  • Provide management information (SOR) about Release Management quality, usage and operations
  • Part of discussions around all aspects of a Release
  • Track changes made in Production by Network Operations related to the SaaS solution


Examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Each one is mapped to a Critical Success Factor (CSF)

Producing Operable Deployment Solutions

  • Number of implementations without Release Management approval
  • Number of implementations not listed in Release Management deployment tracking
  • Number of failed Deployments (Network Operations needing assistance from Engineering or RM to complete deployment)
  • Number of Deploy incidents per Release (Parent Support Cases related to implementation)

Controlling Releases to Production

  • Number of Releases implemented without change documentation (could use an RFC process, see “Checklist Request for Change (RFC)” below for details if needed)
  • Number of Hotfixes
  • Number of Releases implemented but not adequately tested

Insuring the implementation of Releases into Production on-time and error free

  • Number of Releases implemented
  • Number of Releases implemented late (contrary to scheduled timeline)

Reduce “time of impact” for Releases

  • Reduce time from QA Hand-off to Production Release where possible
  • Reduce time of deployment (customer downtime) where possible

Sources that contributed to this document
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
(1) “Release Management”, http://www.itlibrary.org/index.php?page=Release_Management (a good deal of the content came from here)
NOTE – above is part of a complete document which is available at http://www.scribd.com/doc/2200037/Itil
(2) “Release Management”, http://arul-jegadish.com/release/?p=19
(3) “Checklist Request for Change (RFC)”, http://wiki.en.it-processmaps.com/index.php/Checklist_Request_for_Change_%28RFC%29
(4) “Inside Microsoft.com Release Management”, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2006.09.insidemsft.aspx
(5) “7 Ways to Improve Your Software Release Management”, http://www.cio.com/article/440101/7_Ways_to_Improve_Your_Software_Release_Management

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Responses

  1. […] have addressed KPIs in a past post (see “Examples of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)” but will go more in-depth today. […]


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