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Plutora Blog - Deployment Management, Release Management

Deployment Management Weekend – Implementation Manager’s dream or nightmare

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Release Deployment Management can be simplified

Stating the obvious every project has one thing guaranteed in common, the need to be scheduled and coordinated to be deployed into a production state. Just think about it, if they don’t have this commonality it would normally mean the project has been a disaster and failed or had the plug pulled.

Usually depending on the project size a deployment cut-over plan aka ‘Run book’ gets formulated weeks or even months out prior to the big weekend. This means the coordinating Manager tasked with formulating the plan starts generating a pretty hefty spreadsheet or a word document with a table of potentially hundreds of tasks and activities. The usual stuff get included who, what and when with the help of many of the SME’s (serious risk here as this can create version and reconciliation issues) and the deployment plan normally gets attached to a RFC record.

Now for the nightmare, which normally begins on a Friday evening, it’s time to get the plan distributed to all resources and that means both sending them a soft copy and a hard copy.

The hard copy is the standard process as each resource follows the plan and waits for email or phone updates on how well previous tasks and activities are tracking and whether or not they are completed. They are not able to see in real-time how well the plan is progressing. The more resources involved in the deployment the better the chances it will turn into coordination hell.

Why, well usually you have vendors (in many different geographically locations) performing tasks across different applications, infrastructure or integration points, internal technical teams such as sys admins, DBA’s and internal Ops all trying to navigate the deployment plan. It takes just one task to slip or get bungled and the coordination effort gets into a jibe and the Deployment Manager tries to work out ways to recover in order to meet the outage window. It’s a common occurrence in many organisations and a scenario which can be partially mitigated using improved tools over excel and word docs.