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Plutora Blog - IT Governance, Release Management, Test Environment Management

3 New Year Resolutions for Release Management

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Happy New Year from Plutora!

We’re looking forward to the new year as we continue to develop products aimed at taking the effort out of environment, release, and deployment management. To help you organize your approach to the New Year we wanted to take some time to propose a few New Year resolutions for Release Management.

Resolution #1: Get Proactive about Environment Management

We’ve noticed an almost universal trend in release and environment management. Environment managers under constant pressure find themselves in a “reactive” mode that doesn’t lend itself to forecasting hardware spend or managing environment conflicts. In 2015, environment managers should aim to be more proactive by using a tool like Plutora’s Environment Manager to give users a tool to request environments in advance. If you can give your users a tool like Plutora then you can sit back and wait for environment reservation requests to hit your Inbox instead of waiting for users to ask for environments at the last minute. With greater predictability you’ll be able to support your development teams with less friction and your funding requests for additional hardware resources will be easier to forecast.

Resolution #2: Model Release Reality (Not Release Fiction)

Let me guess. The last several releases you planned didn’t happen as planned. Whether it was a delay from the developers or a problem with environment setup release plans almost never match reality. This is because release managers lack a solid tool to track release plans and report on how previous plans were affected by unplanned changes and outages. Until Plutora came along there was no good tool available to help with after-action reports for releases which was also able to model different kinds of releases and dependencies between software projects. Use Plutora in 2015 to stand up a real release management function that will allow you to keep track of plans and how they are affected by change. This is the only way to move your organization to an approach that tracks release reality instead of the fictional planning process we’ve seen the industry grow accustomed to. If you want to give management a more accurate picture of how long a software release will take and if you want a more predictable and manageable process, make 2015 the year you stood up Plutora Release Manager for the enterprise.

Resolution #3: Track Release Metrics

When you run a software release there are several measurable indicators of release quality that you need to start keeping track of if you are going to start holding your teams accountable. We wrote about these metrics in 2014, and they are metrics that everyone should keep track of to understand not just if a release was successful but how efficient it was and how much effort it took to support it.

As release managers we’re often asked to do the impossible. We’re asked to make sure that multiple teams coordinate with one another to deliver software and we’re often the last mile for difficult software projects as they transition from development to production. Until recently release managers haven’t done a great job capturing the amount of effort involved in releases and because of this management might not have an accurate picture of just how challenging release management can be in an unpredictable IT department.

Capturing release metrics is the first step toward making sure that everyone understands that release management involves real challenge and real effort. One immediate by-product of standing up Plutora in an enterprise is that it immediately shines a bright light on what we consider to be the most challenging job in IT. Making releases more transparent and more predictable is a step toward making sure that everyone understands the process and procedures involved in delivering quality software.