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Plutora Blog - IT Governance, Release Management

An Effective Release Management Process: 5 Key Elements

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Whilst onsite to roll out Plutora within a government client recently, we had the opportunity to sit through one of their release management meetings. The meeting was well attended, so well attended that some even volunteered to sit on the floor.

When we entered the room, we heard someone ask “did you bring your helmet?” This and the sheer size of the meeting had us skeptical about the ability to cover the required ground in the allotted time.

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But our initial impressions were shot down quickly, and overall the meeting was efficient and effective. Throughout the meeting it was obvious that all knew the release process, the applicable phases, gates & dates etcetera. What’s more, there was a palpable atmosphere of thinking across the organization rather than focusing on parochial interests.

So we were surprised when we found out it was only the 3rd such meeting and that the overall process is quite new.

The level of engagement and the evidence to which the process had been embedded quickly got us thinking about the basics of process ownership and change management as they apply to release management.

From our observations, we put together 5 key elements of an effective release management process. They’re so simple and obvious, it’s hardly drawing deep insights – but we were inspired and reminded that simply doing the basics very well can get you a long way, and quickly:

1) An active senior sponsor

The more active and senior, the better. It’s that simple.

2) A clearly understood process

Ensuring the process is well defined and communicated to all audiences in their applicable context is one thing. Making the effort to properly engage and ensure the benefits and consequences are sufficiently understood is another.

3) Consistency and transparency

There’s always a speed hump, a curveball and reasons for a special case. When dealing with exceptions to the process, be consistent. Be transparent about it too.

4) Visible metrics to monitor end to end release health

Taking the time to define release health metrics, and ensuring they are consistently measured and published is essential to establishing credibility.

5) Clear line of sight to business value

Understanding business value is obviously critical when obtaining funding and prioritizing projects. It’s just as critical when assessing changes to the plan. Ensuring that technology concerns don’t crowd out business impacts can be more effort than you think.

Have we missed something? Do you have a different view? We were inspired by what we saw and felt it worth discussing, so let us know.

dalibor siroky
Dalibor Siroky

Dalibor is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Plutora. He has 15 years of leadership, consulting, enterprise product, and operations experience across Australia, Asia and Europe. He has proven ability to build high performance teams, turn around situations, develop innovative products, and create lasting value. Prior to Plutora, Dalibor was founder and managing director of Finotaur, a leading provider of independent management consulting services. Before that he served as CIO of financial advisory software at Macquarie Bank, head of solution architecture at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and management consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Dalibor got his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Follow him on Twitter @DaliborSiroky.