Posted by: Jeff Timmins | November 27, 2011

Elements of RM – saying No to a Release

Typically Release Managers are not in the position to “own” a Release – i.e. to give the Go or No-Go on their own. It is usually the responsibility of a committee or a high ranking leader who gets the honor. The best case scenario is that the Release Manager has the ability to influence/a voice in the Go/No-Go decision. In a sense, this “ability” is the difference between being a Release Manager and being a Release Coordinator.

As Spider-Man would say – with great power comes great responsibility – so how does the Release Manager use this “ability” with responsibility and without abusing?

Here are some options with Pros and Cons:

  • Little voice that no one can hear -> all Cons here, why would anyone listen if you are not confident enough to be heard?
  • “Dean the Doubter” who always says No or “Happy Henry” who always says Yes -> all Cons again, there is no value in the words from someone who’s answer is always predictable.
  • Saying No in the same pitch as a Baby crying -> Pro – at least the person can say No, Cons – doesn’t work in a professional setting.
  • Saying No with a large and threatening voice -> all Cons yet again, not professional and intimidation doesn’t work well for building relationships (an important skill for a Release Manager).
  • Saying No and reciting the book of guidelines that the company created as a whole -> Bingo, all Pros this time as everyone should respect a No with reason behind it
  • Because “Spock said so” logic (i.e. the needs of the many out-weigh the needs of the few, or the one) -> Cons – non-Trekkies might need a few minutes to get this, Pros – could help team members see that what they want is only good for them and not the customer.
  • Asking detailed questions that draw out the risks and the rewards for going forward with a Release, thus helping everyone at the table understand the results of the Go/No-Go decision -> all Pros – this makes the decision drop dead easy when everyone understands the impact of their decision.

I could go on and on but I believe the above gets the point across – be open, be fair and be ready to explain and discuss your point of view when giving your opinion.


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