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Plutora Blog - Release Management

What Companies Benefit Most from Enterprise Release Management?

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There are three characteristics that drive the need to establish a strong Release Management Process (ERM) practice and they are all related to the complications that accompany scale:

  • Team Size – The number of people involved in an enterprise release.
  • System Scope – The scope of an enterprise system and interdependencies between subsystems affected by an enterprise release.
  • Application Risk – The amount of risk presented by an enterprise release.

ERM is especially useful when an organization maintains systems so large that no one group fully understands the scope of the overall system.  Enterprise Release Management functions are designed to facilitate visibility across systems no matter the scope they cover.  Examples include an e-commerce system implemented as a series of dedicated services including inventory, payment, and front-end web site development.  Another example would be a large enterprise that has built a web site that interacts with a CRM system such as PeopleSoft or Siebel.

Team Size

Companies benefiting from ERM are large enterprises consisting of multiple departments spanning one or more business units supported by one or more IT departments.  ERM is applicable for companies with over 100 direct participants in the software delivery lifecycle.  If a company has more than three groups coordinating to deliver software with more than 100 direct participants it is a prime candidate to benefit from ERM. ERM provides a higher level of strategic release management to align personnel across departments and address obstacles and communication issues that may arise outside of individual groups.

System Scope

Large, composite enterprise systems are characterized by the presence of multiple interdependent subsystems including both systems developed by internal application development teams and third-party services such as content delivery networks and payment gateways.  These composite systems involve multiple, independent development groups often spanning several organizational structures both internal and external and subsystems are linked together in a hierarchy creating an overall enterprise architecture. Changes are rarely confined to single, isolated components in a composite system and when application features or services are implemented multiple components in a composite system are impacted simultaneously.

Application Risk

High-risk industries such as e-commerce, government, and banking require a constant commitment to 24/7 availability. Uptime is the primary concern for a business designed to serve consumers and any organization of sufficient complexity is faced with the challenge of controlling the impact of software releases.  As software releases are the primary source of downtime in most enterprises, there’s a special sensitivity and awareness when it comes to managing release-related risk.

When contingency planning isn’t optional and when minutes of downtime or even transient downtime can impact the business an ERM practice is required to help to identify and manage risks associated with multi-project deployments.

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