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Release and Deployment Management

Any organizational challenge is not only to identify “why” an IT service is required but also “how” a service will be released and deployed in live environment. Is there any process defined that aims at managing a new or existing change and then deploy it in the supported environment without impacting the existing service. 

Yes there is - ITIL’s Release and Deployment management, part of Service transition phase 

Almost every organization has change management process but very few have a specifically defined release and deployment management. It is as important as any other process and together with change management is form the core of “how” an IT service gets deployed in live environment. 

A change (new or existing service) gets deployed under a release. An ITIL defines a release as a collection of hardware, software, processes or other components required to implement one or more approved changes to IT services. The contents of each release are built, managed, tested, approved and deployed as a single entity. 

It is extremely difficult to define a release unit and create guidelines in advance. Technical management, service management and project management team should work and communicate together to define and understand these guidelines.

The primary responsibility/objectives of release and deployment management is to 

  • Build and test the release.
  • Deploy the release in production successfully and on schedule.
  • Clear and complete release and deployment plan.
  • Minimal impact on the production services and operations.
  • Transfer knowledge to operational staff, support staff, customers and users.

The project plan of every successful release should include these objectives.

Most of the organization defines some general polices concerning the release management. This policy helps in IT planning activities and decision making at project level.  It covers below items – 

  • The frequency of different type (major, minor, emergency) of releases per year.
  • The number and type of changes that make up the release.
  • The definition of the changes grouped under one release.
  • Entry and exit criteria.
  • Early life support.

It helps to create consistency in the organization by deploying the projects of same scope or size under one release. All the changes impacting different set of teams can be deployed as a single release. The changes grouped together under one release, can be done on the same day or on consecutive weekends. Failure of any change in a release leads to failure of the release. In this case all the changes needs to be back out if required.  

The stages or activities of release and deployment management are – 

  • Planning the release
  • Preparing for build, test and deployment
  • Verification, preparation, commutation and testing
  • Audits of hardware and software prior to deployment
  • Perform and verify the production deployment
  • Provide initial support
  • Review and close release

Adoption of Release and deployment management adds value and benefits to the business in following ways – 

  • Provides customer focused approach to deploy large release at optimum cost and minimized risk.
  • Decreases the IT workload by bundling the changes of similar scope and size under one release.
  • Lessens the cost of licensing and maintenance of installed hardware and software.
  • Assures that the users can utilize the deployed service that supports business objectives. 

 

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