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Release Management Team Responsibilities

by Nikki Gannon, on Nov 19, 2019 1:30:00 PM

Release management team responsibilities dictate how changes get handled in pre-production environments. However, the speed of change required to keep pace with the market today is bewildering.

Release managers need to have a good understanding of what these responsibilities are and how to best execute on them. Below, we talk about nature of the modern release management and how release managers can best conceptualize their work to be effective in their role.

release manager ensuring complete tasks and visibility

What are the Steps in Release Management?

Building exceptional software requires everybody to be on the same page, and when you have a geographically distributed team, it becomes more of a challenge. Having a centralized release planning page is critical for project success and solves a variety of problems such as:

  • Wasting developer time to search for information
  • Status meetings to get up to date on a project
  • Forgetting project details that fall through the cracks

In order to successfully resolve these problems, there are four steps for release managers to follow to plan clear and efficient projects:

  1. Collect ideas (the “why”)
  2. Sketch out a release plan (the “who” and “when”)
  3. Translate ideas into action (the “what”)
  4. Cancel your status meetings

What Does a Release Manager Do?

Release managers are the individuals that plan schedule and are the gatekeepers of the software build and delivery process. This role is not easy by any means and requires great attention to detail and a complete understanding of the software build and delivery process.

The release manager interacts with a variety of different roles throughout the software development lifecycle. On a daily basis, they communicate with IT Ops, test managers, dev managers, and the project management office. Individuals in this role also need to report senior IT management and keep those parties up to date on the project status.

What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Release Manager?

The job of a release manager contains a variety of roles and responsibilities that require experience and leadership skills. The key concern and goal of the release manager is to ensure that changes efficiently flow through any pre-production environments which results in successful releases and deployments that cause little disruption.

Some responsibilities and duties for release managers include the following:

  • Schedule, coordinate, and manage releases for multiple applications that exist within the business
  • Work closely with IT release managers and build a release calendar
  • Assist in project management to ensure milestone goals are met
  • Manage and mitigate risks that relate to scope, quality, and schedule
  • Conduct project related interviews such as
    • Release readiness reviews
    • Business go/no go reviews
    • Milestone reviews
  • Discuss release scope and/or roadblocks in change advisory board meetings
  • Provide reporting to Senior IT Management to keep them up to date

What Are the Challenges a Release Manager Faces?

As we already know, a release manager is in charge of many components throughout all aspects of the software development lifecycle. However, as with any job, there are challenges that release managers face. This includes problems such as:

  • Lack of visibility into all work: There is a great deal of collaboration within the role of release manager. Delegating project tasks and having total and complete visibility is often difficult at times.
  • Governance and regulations: With a lot of moving pieces being executed in a project, it is essential to ensure that all quality measures have been taken.
  • Making sure all steps were properly followed to produce the desired result: This entails making sure the customer is satisfied with what you delivered. Did you give them what they asked for? Are they happy with the result?
  • Managing risk, not the routine: Sometimes release managers focus too much on the routine of a process and compromise the management of risk. Managing risk helps to improve quality and scope of the project and makes managers aware of the requirements for reaching project completion.

Each one of these challenges poses a variety of risks. If a release manager does not effectively manage these risks, the project is compromised which results in delays and/or unhappy customers.

Release managers who focus on risk management and utilize risk analysis and reports, are often more productive and have successful projects. Inedo’s tools address all of these challenges that release managers face and allows them to meet project deadlines and deliver quality software to please their customers.

What KPI Are a Release Manager is Responsible For?

Since release managers have a variety of tasks to do, it can sometimes be hard to get lost in the countless tasks/responsibilities that you can forget to utilize a variety of metrics to assess the overall performance.

There are at least 25 release management KPI metrics that a release manager is responsible for. However, here are five KPIs that all release managers should keep track of:

  • Downtime: This accounts for anytime users can’t access the software. This includes estimated release downtime and actual release downtime.
  • Release priorities: Ensuring that high priority releases receive priority scheduling and proper attention
  • Coordinated releases: Defining coordinated releases as high priority to ensure that they are properly scheduled and have the proper resources allocated to them to be released successfully
  • Errors: Minimizing errors that make it into the release so that teams don’t have to correct issues and reduce the number of rollbacks to improve the quality of development and testing
  • Mean time to repair: Tracking the amount of time that passes from when an application crashes to when it is recovered. By monitoring this, teams can monitor crashes and their recovery times to implement a way to reduce the effects of a crash.

The Right Tools Simplify Release Management

Inedo DevOps tools maximize developer time, minimize release risk, and empower stakeholders to bring their vision to life faster. All with the people and technology you have right now. To get help streamlining your CI/CD processes, contact mgoulis@inedo.com.

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Topics:Release Management

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