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Plutora Blog - Release Management

Your Software Release Schedule is an Important Part of the Release Process

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In most enterprises, the concept of having a reliable release schedule which represents what is going on in the development arm of your IT shop is quite foreign. The currency of the release schedule can’t be relied on or, in some cases, doesn’t even exist.

A classic case of bad practice is receiving weekly email updates or SharePoint alerts iterating that the release schedule is updated, something along the lines of “attached is Version 12”. Let’s face it — we all hate receiving updated documents, and release schedules are no exception.

But still, we cannot deny the importance of a release schedule. Releasing the product in a timely order ensures that the client gets the entire product on time. Building on that, in this post, we’ll discuss what a release schedule is. We’ll cover some key factors which release schedule owners should improve on. Finally, we will find out how Plutora’s release management tool eases software delivery.

We cannot deny the importance of a release schedule.

What is a Release Schedule?

A release schedule is important and required for landscapes where you have multiple teams working on multiple systems delivering Projects or BAU changes. What this important artifact provides is an evident approach that planning for the delivery of releases and changes has occurred (to what extent comes down to the product or release manager and their experience). It graphically shows you immediately the contentions and dependencies around releases and gives you the mechanism to make decisions around release dates and test environment allocations.

I wanted to mention a few points around some of the key issues that owners of release schedules need to improve on:

The Stakeholders

software release schedule

Your release schedule should be shared with the following people:

  • CIO/CTOs (they’ll use it as a release roadmap)
  • All IT resources involved in IT Dev and IT Ops.
  • Business stakeholders will require it as well to gain insights into what changes are occurring to their systems.
  • Vendors, yes vendors. The amount of times we have seen vendors overlooked from accessing the release schedule is absurd. Your vendors need to know your release dates and major milestones. They need it for their planning to ensure they can deliver the items they are on the hook for.

Communication

There is no use having a release schedule if no one knows about it or can’t access it. Having lots of different schedule versions in a file share or SharePoint somewhere is no good either. You need to ensure that stakeholders know where it is and can easily access it, whether your release schedule is in Plutora or in some other location.

Using Plutora has many benefits. One advantage is that the release schedule is always the latest and greatest version of the real world. How, you ask? Because managers of Plutora are coordinating all their activities from Plutora in real time.

There is no use having a release schedule if no one knows about it or can’t access it.

A viewer of a release schedule always needs to know what they are viewing is latest and greatest version. For some stakeholders, they might use it as a roadmap or IT pipeline reference point while others might use it for day to day delivery such as Product and Test managers.

Confidence

Ok, so you have a great looking release schedule but how achievable is the delivery of each line item? Have you ensured that the dependencies and any potential risky release date are addressed? Do you have all the activities and milestones identified? Ensuring you have as much detail as possible in your release schedule is extremely important.

You may wonder “Is the release schedule really that important?”

Why a Software Release Schedule Matters More In Product-Oriented Teams

Launching a product in the market is never an easy task. Even though a product-oriented approach doesn’t encourage strict planning, a schedule for software release is an important part of product development. When there are multiple teams working on different systems, it is important to have a release schedule to enforce some order.

The deployment of software happens in various environments. It’s an elaborate process and takes time. Although the focus is on the product in product-oriented teams, a software release schedule instigates a ‘not-so-overwhelming’ deadline. Thus, when there is a precise software release schedule, it helps teams maintain quality within less time.

No business can get rid of competitive threats. When a team is product-oriented, its focus is productivity along with following the best practices and standards.

One of the practices includes a software release schedule. It is a part of strong governance that mitigates the risk of a release failure. When the schedule is clear, teams are able to pinpoint potential reasons for failure. This way, they can stay extra cautious and avoid a potential disaster. Thus, the software release schedule helps retain better risk management in a product-oriented team.

When there is a precise software release schedule, it helps teams to maintain quality.

Now, let’s discuss how Plutora’s release management solution helps users have a smooth release process.

Plutora Release Manager

Plutora’s Release Management tool was originally conceived due to the frustration experienced around visibility into the release pipeline. Regardless of if you’re an enterprise release management team following the waterfall methodology or a single software line running a Scrum or Agile dev process, the need to see the release pipeline is the same.

Basically, you need to know what is happening and when to make decisions about various factors. A solid, repeatable release plan reduces rework, lowers risk, and eliminates the need to piece together the definition of a release from myriad spreadsheets and documents.

Let’s take a look at some of the features of this tool in detail.

Release Calendar

Are you managing the release schedule of your project manually? You must have become bored with the same old font and layout of Excel or Google Sheets.

Well, Plutora’s Release Manager comes with a dynamic calendar where you can define your tasks. You can also assign resources and check whether everything is going according to plan. By maintaining a well-defined plan in the release calendar, you no longer need to browse the excel tables and check manually to see if there is any delay in a task.

Schedule Your Release

Again, eliminate the use of Excel or Sheets for defining release plans. Release Manager comes with an intuitive UI where you can define the start and end time of a release process. You can also set quality check gates.

You can monitor each activity during the release and ensure client satisfaction.

But how does it work? Suppose there is a certain build that does not meet the expectations of the QA team. The build can proceed to the next stage only after the moderator approves the quality gate. Thus, you can monitor each activity during the release and ensure client satisfaction.

Reusable Templates

Tired of defining the release process over and over in every release? With Plutora’s Release Manager, you can create a single workflow that follows the release policies of your company. You can include both automated and manual tasks in the template. You can also create as many templates as you’d like and you can reuse them in the future release tasks of your company.

Widen the Scope of Your Product’s Release

Manual release management does not have enough scope to cover non-production environments. As a result, it becomes quite difficult to track dependencies or some other aspects that increase the release’s complexity. But, you can integrate Plutora’s tool with your CI/CD tools. Thus, tracking dependencies and checking the complexity of the release. Also, the tool provides you with an advanced filter to check the status of an issue and it’s level of risk.

Release management is an important part of your project. However, this task often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. We hope that we’ve been able to explain why your project needs release management and how you can automate it and reduce complexities with Plutora’s solution. Good luck with your next release.