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Plutora Blog - Release Management, Test Environment Management

Why Enterprise Release Management is important to concurrent project delivery

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Enterprise Release Management (ERM) is a structured process methodology for managing enterprise change and project driven transformation prior to implementation into a live environment. ERM’s importance to having problem free concurrent projects implemented cannot be underestimated. Management of Non-Production Environments, Management of Application/System Dependencies, Prioritization of Stakeholders Tasks, Understanding and Prioritizing Milestones, Controlling Release Gates & Activities, Understand the Impact of Tasks Slipping and Providing Transparency to all Stakeholders are some of the ERM processes that are paramount to problem free concurrent project delivery.

The following is a deeper look into these enterprise release management processes:

Management of Non-Production Environments

Good ERM practices will highlight which phases are allocated to which environment booking and show when environments are available. Having the ability to see the availability and downtime/maintenance windows of these environments is essential in optimizing test environment usage and ensuring that projects can be allocated to environments efficiently.

Management of Application/System Dependencies

Project Managers typically work in a silo’d approach resulting from the fact that they are working against defined budgets, resource contention and tight schedules. This leads to the risk of code and integration crashes when releases are being deployed to production. Projects tend to not deep dive into cross-project application dependencies as they know that this level of risk management can create additional over-heads to there projects and as such try to avoid performing it. ERM can step in, manage the dependencies and broker agreements for projects to play nice in order to deliver robust releases which don’t create code and integration crashes.

Prioritization of Stakeholder Tasks

ERM process emphasise the ability to show a list of responsible stakeholder tasks across all projects over a given period of time. As concurrent projects may require some stakeholders to be performing multiple tasks it is important to ensure stakeholders are not overloaded during peak periods. Reviewing stakeholder workload should be able to determine which resources are over and under-utilized.

Understanding and Prioritizing Competing Tasks and Milestones

With either slippages to development, testing, test environment support or a project gaining increased business importance, at some point you will have an occasion with a resources being double booked across multiple projects. It is important that your ERM process allows you to present all impacts and consequences of prioritizing one project over another to stakeholders quickly and efficiently. With this information the correct project can be prioritized without delay, as well as the appropriate planning adjustments made for to accommodate the downstream tasks impacted by the shift.

Control Release Gates Activities

Concurrent Project Delivery has many moving parts, so having a well planned timeline of phases and gate dates will enable the ERM team to ensure Project and Application Delivery Teams are tracking well against proposed gates. The monitoring of these gates and associated criteria is one of the most important functions played by Enterprise Release Managers. Effective monitoring ensures that pr0jects are tracking to a green status and that combined release deployments are not at risk of being delayed because dependent projects are not ready for deployment.

Understand the Impact of Tasks Slipping

Project tasks will miss deadlines or be bumped for higher priority tasks, it important that the impact of these events is minimized on other projects and understood by all relevant stakeholders from impacted downstream projects.

Providing Transparency to all Stakeholders

Your ERM methodology should map out all project phases, dates and implementation dates over a large date range. Ensuring all business owners, project managers and other key stakeholders are aware of this map, the dates, interdependencies, pre-requisites and risks should ensure that any change to deliverable dates for projects can be foreseen and communicated well in advance.