Posted by: Jeff Timmins | November 21, 2013

Are you bought into ITIL for RM?

Are you bought into the ITIL process for Release Management?

I was recently interviewing for a job at a well known company when the interviewer hit me with this question – Are you bought into the ITIL process for Release Management? Unfortunately I was unprepared for this question nor have I spent much time thinking about the ITIL & RM connection. The result was a poor answer to the question and not progressing in the interview process. To my credit I actually spent a lot of time preparing for the role but spent all my time researching the wrong stuff! (My research on the role focused on a keyword that was used in the posting that turned out to have nothing to do with the role.) Regardless, it was a failure on my part to adequately prepare for the interview.

Anyway, my answer went something like “well, not really because it doesn’t focus on the development part of the process.”

What I should have said (after refreshing my memory from my ITIL v3 Foundations Certification test 3 years ago) was “if you are speaking of the textbook definition of the ITIL sub-process of Release & Deployment Management, I would say some could conclude that Release Management is only ensuring that the act of deploying code to Production is done in a safe manor.” I would add “but I think there is more too that definition.”  Then I mention that if you think of the exact objective of the role …

  • The primary goal of Release Management is to ensure that the integrity of the live environment is protected and that the correct components are released
    [referenced here if interested and bold text added by me]

the parts about “ensuring integrity” and “correct components” could give you license to expand the scope of RM to monitor & validate the details coming out of Development & QA. In short I would show that I actually do understand how ITIL explains RM and that it in theory it could be implemented differently depending on the needs. All depends what kind of glasses you are wearing when looking at RM.

The the record, Release and Deployment Management is one of the many sub-processes of ITIL Service Transition. Looking at the list you could argue that these other processes also help lead to ensuring integrity of the Production system but the more you know about the options the better. Here is the list of the sub-processes:

  • Project Management/Transition Planning and Support
  • Change Management
  • Change Evaluation
  • Application Development (note that this doesn’t appear on all lists)
  • Service Asset and Configuration Management
  • Release and Deployment Management
  • Service Validation and Testing
  • Knowledge Management

The funny thing is that I’m now contracting at another well known company which requires that I create an RM process built on the ITIL process. As I’m finding out, it is not typical for smaller Software companies to adapt ITIL but most of the large organizations tend to embrace it.

In the end, my short answer would be “yes I’m bought into the ITIL process and I’d like to explain to you how I’d apply the ITIL definition.”

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