With the explosion of technology come the ever-expanding software solutions. Companies once handled specific software products with limited choices but in recent years have seen the software products continuously evolving. Software programs within large companies cycle through the stages of “development, testing, deployment, and support.” As a result, these stages of software require approval, oversight, planning, management, and release. Part of the process of continuously evolving software is that of its release. Once software products are developed, then the work of testing, deployment, and support must be managed. Thus, we see the need and reason for release management applications and systems.
What is release management?
To understand the purpose and objectives of release management, we must first have an understanding of what is meant by a release. A release is simply the launching of new or improved software within a company. The bottom line is the software release will be beneficial for the company. Some reasons businesses may decide to launch a release are as follows:
- Problems with the current system demand upgrades.
- Current software is outdated.
- New software promises more value to the customers.
- Software will improve productivity among staff.
Often times, the reasons may be a combination of some of these. Whether it’s to upgrade outdated systems or launch new, more relevant systems, releases need to be managed. As with any technology introduced into the current work environment, glitches may occur. Without a release management system, you could experience confusion or worse yet, downtime. The successful implementation of the release depends on strategic management at each stage. In other words, managers must enact a plan for release that outlines actions and goals for each component of the release. How can managers integrate all the phases of a release while at the same time monitor accountability and ensure everyone involved is on the same page? This is where release management software such as what Vision Helpdesk offers benefits the business.
How does release management software help companies?
What can managers or business owners expect with release management software? Here are things you should expect from a well-designed release effort when using release management software:
- Reduction or elimination of faulty releases.
- Reduction in releases with unpredictable outcomes.
- A map of the process from beginning to end for future reference.
- Documentation of releases and their success.
- Preserve data in one central location.
- Communicate release plan to appropriate players.
- Enhanced coordination between different departments working on the release.
- Greater accountability among release managers and engineers.
- Optimize productivity by having a consistent methodology for release management components.
How does release management software actually work?
Understanding the benefits of release management is an important first step. Now, you may wonder how it actually works practically. CRM software encompasses release management as one of its components. Vision Helpdesk’s CRM software includes several integrated components, one of which is release management. With this software, your management team and software engineers will be able to do the following:
Create and set up a change advisory board (CAB): Once it’s determined that new or improved software is necessary for your business, you can set up an advisory board. This allows members of the board to access the systems to make necessary approvals and updates.
Set up the release plan: Establish the important details of the intended release by inputting information into the system. This includes a place for the following information:
- Subject – what is the topic of release? For example, you may need to exchange a server storage drive. This serves as a title for the release in question.
- Details – this will include the bulk of information and includes: department, status of release, priority, date to begin and end, type of release (i.e. standard), main description of the project, build plan description, test plan description, approval for plan, and how many changes and CIs are affected.
Integrate configuration items (CI) with change request: Whether your configuration item involves a single element or encompasses a whole system, it’s helpful to link it to the change request. Linking all CIs to the appropriate change request helps ensure there are no overlaps or gaps. You effectively document what the CIs will accomplish by linking them to needed changes.
Associate change requests with incidents: Streamline your incident management by linking incidents and changes together all within the framework of your release management software. For example, if you are receiving several incident reports around a faulty server, you would want those incidents to tie into the request for changes to the server. When software engineers determine to exchange the server storage drive, you can check off all those incidents with one release. This wraps up loose ends from previous incident reports.
Break down release into steps and assign appropriately: Some releases may be more extensive than others are. Release management software allows you to break down a large task into several simple steps and assign them to the proper person. At the same time, each person can view the release in its entirety.
Finalizing the release: Once everyone has completed the goals for releasing software, the CAB can analyze the process and its handling. This serves as a guide for future releases.
As software continues to evolve, companies find it useful to streamline the release of the new and upgraded software. At Vision Helpdesk, we provide CRM with a release management component. Connect with us today for more information about optimizing your business operations.