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Plutora Blog - IT Governance, Release Management

The Link Between Change Management and Release Management

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Change Management and Release Management are different but related functions within organizations. At a high level, Change activities relate to the process of requesting changes, assessing changes, authorizing changes and reviewing changes. Release activities include planning, designing, configuration, rollout planning, testing communication and deployment. The Release Management function provides the schedule and execution whilst the Change Approval Board authorizes the change to controlled environments.

Change Management and Release Management are different but related functions within organizations.

Change Management

IT Change Management is primarily concerned with transitioning new initiatives and procedural adjustments from development into operations. The objective of change management is to standardize methods and procedures for efficient and prompt handling of all changes in order to minimize the impact of change-related incidents upon service quality, and consequently improve the day-to-day operations of the organization.

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IT Change Management is the process that governs and introduces changes to configuration items (CIs) within the configuration management database (CMDB) that are part of the organizations live production environment or other environments under change control. Typically IT Operations are accountable for operating and protecting production and staging environments through change control. This accountability often stops with production environments.

Release Management

Release Management (RM) is primarily concerned with the flow of changes through various pre-production environments culminating in successfully deployment into the production IT environment in the least disruptive manner. It groups a series of changes into a collection known as a release, which is based on defined common characteristics of the changes. Release management makes the change management process more proactive and predictable and is essential to manage the volume of interdependent change within an organization.

Release management makes the change management process more proactive and predictable and is essential to manage the volume of interdependent change within an organization.

Pre-production environments like development, system testing, integration testing, performance testing and user acceptance testing, fall outside the formal change management controls of IT Operations. Given the velocity at which these environments change during build and test an appropriate balance needs to be found between agility, flexibility and control.

These pre-production environments are normally managed according to the approach selected by the Project Manager or Release Manager. Although Project Managers sometimes perform this function they are generally more concerned with high-level aspects of the project rather than the technical day-to-day aspects.

Change Management vs Release Management, Visually

The starkest differences between change management and release management stem from the fact that, while the former resides on the strategic level, the latter resides on the operational level. So, while change management is more of a gatekeeper, or an authorization process—since one of its goals is to protect the production environment—release management is more of a doer. In other words, it’s the implementation process, the one that gets things done.

The following table summarizes, in a visual way, the main differences between these two related processes.

Change Management Release Management
Ensures  the production environment is protected while assessing the release plan Builds, tests, and deploys the changes
Consists of activities that happen before and after deployment Consists of deploy activities
Consists of an authorization process Consists of an implementation process
Not every change causes a release A release can involve from one to several changes
Lives on the Strategic level Lives on the Operational level
Adopts Post Implementation Review processes Uses version control tools

Plutora Release Management

Plutora provides a cloud based Release Management tool that enables you to plan, execute and coordinate releases across complex interdependent applications. Plutora also allows you to manage environments allocation to phases within a release, providing better visibility and control for efficient environment utilization.

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.