Posted by: Jeff Timmins | October 28, 2014

Serving Internal customers

Serving Internal customers

Managing external customer communication is typically an easy task for a Release Manager. Either confirm the person responsible for externals has the required information or confirm the standard downtime message is posted X days before the Release. POC (piece of cake)

Managing the needs of Internal customers is a bit more complex, especially if Super Users are included. On their own the standard Internal customer expect a higher level & higher frequency. Adding the Super Users (using the system 83% of the day, prides themselves with knowing all the ins & outs) just Super-sized your to do list. They want & deserve more information & training than the External users get.

It is not the Release Manager’s job to create that type of information but I suggest it is the RM’s responsibility to make sure it is distributed. Or simply put, care enough to make sure people get what they need.  To do that I communicate any nugget of worth-while information I can get my hands on. In addition, I lobby for them when someone plans to eliminate content that has provided value for them in the past.

Here are some examples of how communicate in my current role:

  • Web, Wiki or Google sites page that contains all Release related material
    • Includes details of coming Release & past Releases
    • Recordings of internal Sprint Demos (used for self-training)
    • Release Calendars
    • Training for internal tools related to Releases (e.g. TFS & Adobe Connect)
    • My favorite children’s books
    • Details of previous Deployments
  • Weekly Release meetings to share the latest status.
    • These are cross-functional where either Reps from all parts of the company are invited (if you can meet in person) or where anyone in the company is welcomed (if meeting is via phone).
    • I currently have 85 people on my weekly phone meeting with about 20 to 30 actually attending and the only problem is that people don’t talk enough!
  • Email communications
    • Every Tuesday – Preview of Release Activities (comments were that weekly meetings were not enough so added this email)
    • Every Wednesday – Weekly meeting Agenda
    • Every Thursday – Weekly meeting notes
    • As needed – Deployment information (before and after)
  • Chat Group communications (Chatter)
    • As needed – Deployment information (before and after, repeat of email)

You might say I over communicate but my customer prefers more emails than less so I give them what they want. After all, that is the name of the game, right?



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