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Service Transition - Release Management

Release Management is a proactive approach to planning and preparing new services for release to ensure optimum cost and minimized risk. Release management protects the live service environment to avoid unwanted impact, whilst delivering services specified through Service Design to meet the stakeholders requirements.

Release Management
During Release Management we define and agree release deployment plans and ensure that any released packages consist of assets and components that are fully compatible. Before releasing a service we need to make sure it can be tracked, installed, tested and also verified. This is obviously done before we release a package, as it would be extremely risky to just assume a package is ready for deployment.

As a service is released into the customers environment, they need information to use the new service effectively and accommodate it into their business processes. We pre-plan this by using knowledge transfer during the Release Management process. The helpdesk and operations also need information regarding the new service to be able to reliably support and maintain the service and meet agreed service levels. Release Management provides this skill and knowledge transfer to the support and operation teams.

What do we produce during Release Management

  • Release plans
  • Release packages
  • User documentation
  • Training

Each release plan is authorized through Change Management and defines the following:

  • Scope of release
  • Risk assessment
  • Stakeholders affected
  • Who is responsible for release (e.g. which team)

Each service must pass through a serious of checkpoints before its considered ready for production. We usually setup the following environments; build, test and production. The test environment is used to check the service components operate in harmony and evaluate any potential risks. As the release passes through each checkpoint, it gets closer to the production environment, by which time any issues have been fully corrected and the service is in a satisfactory state. In addition to the test environment, we sometimes use a pilot scheme to test drive the service with a small user base. This can provide some superb feedback and help us modify the service appropriately to delivery maximum value.

Which method of deployment

There are a variety of methods to deploy releases. These range from deploying the entire service to gradual roll outs across user bases. We can also look at ITIL software to automate rollouts and cut down on the time required by our support teams to perform repeatable actions and even a central 'push' rollout from a distribution centre. The Service Design stage will usually select the most suitable release model that includes methods, procedures and resources required to build and release on time.

See also

  • Release models (push, pull, automated, manual)
  • Release windows
  • Pass / fail criteria
  • customer service desk
  • Build and release tools

service transition release deployment model criteria tools management



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