Enterprise Release Management: The Ultimate Guide
by Justin Reynolds
Managing software production at the enterprise level requires careful planning and coordination. This is especially critical when organizations are dealing with multiple products that have different release schedules, users, and teams.
A growing number of companies are using enterprise release management to simplify production and management and deliver high-quality software at scale.
In this post, we’ll shed some light on what enterprise release management is, how it works, and tips you can use to maximize software output and minimize risks.
Guide: What Is Enterprise Release Management?
Enterprise release management is a framework that companies can use to plan, create, and manage multiple software projects.
While enterprise release management tends to vary from company to company, the concept is typically the same. Enterprise release management saves time, leads to more automation, and results in better-performing software. As a result, developer teams are more nimble, and users are happier.
Managers can also use enterprise release management to coordinate projects with different teams and share common goals and standards. By creating and maintaining an enterprise release management strategy, you can ensure that your production teams create software that aligns with the business’s overall objectives, timelines, and resources.
The Enterprise Release Management Cycle
When forming an enterprise release management strategy, you first need to determine how you want to handle scheduling and releasing. To this end, you can either form a set schedule or release code continuously. There’s no right or wrong answer here. It largely depends on the type of software you’re producing and your available resources.
Once you have an idea of how often you want to publish new releases, you can move into planning and creating software. With all this in mind, here’s a breakdown of the enterprise release management cycle that most companies now use.
The first step to enterprise release management involves analyzing and prioritizing software builds and changes. At this stage, the release manager will consult with team members and project leaders to outline specific goals and form a release strategy.
This is very important because it enables teams to determine what they need to focus on right away — and which requests they can push ahead to subsequent versions.
Of course, it’s also necessary to vet requests and determine which ones are unnecessary. After all, not every request needs to make its way into production.
2. Plan and Design
After you prioritize a software request, the process moves into the planning and design phase. At this point, your team should identify the scope of the release or change and the requirements for executing it. In other words, you need to know what success looks like.
Once planning and design are complete, your team can start building and iterating. Here, developers should use secure and dedicated building environments. As a result, they will be able to create and iterate without impacting any live users.
After the build is complete, it’s time to analyze the results to determine whether the build went according to plan. If the software aligns with the initial design, the next step is to move it into the testing phase to ensure it’s stable and meets the needs of your end users.
Some common types of testing include user acceptance testing, system integration testing, smoke testing, interface testing, and regression testing.
Many DevOps teams are also “shifting left” and integrating security testing into their pipelines. By running security tests throughout the software testing process, you can lower production costs and reduce rework.
Keep in mind that your testing environment doesn’t have to be an exact match of your live production environment. Try to get as close as possible. But don’t go overboard trying to make it exactly the same.
After testing is done, the next step is to move software into a live production environment so users can interact with the product.
Before you deploy your software, you need to make sure it is complete and operationally functional. You can always make changes after production, but it’s a good idea to ship a complete product. Failure to do so can frustrate users and engineers alike.
6. Analyze and Improve
After software goes into production, your job isn’t complete. You still need to test and monitor your solution to ensure everything is working correctly. At this point, it’s important to collect user feedback and store it in a central repository for analysis.
By constantly analyzing and improving software, you can ensure high-quality software releases and plan future iterations more effectively. This is essential for ensuring strong user experiences and keeping your software up to date
The Benefits of Enterprise Release Management
Sticking to an enterprise release management schedule can lead to a variety of benefits for your organization.
Exceed User Expectations
In today’s customer-centric market, it’s no longer good enough to meet user expectations. You need to determine what customers want and then deliver software that goes above and beyond. By taking this approach, you can drive customer loyalty and reduce churn — increasing profitability along the way.
Tighten Resource Control
Software production and management can be very resource-intensive. Through careful enterprise release management, however, companies can track capacity requirements and availability. This can help avoid constraints and keep projects under budget.
Make sure to align your production schedules. Otherwise, you might find yourself facing excessive costs, internal conflicts, and backlogs.
It’s a good idea to use a comprehensive release schedule to track project timelines and workflows. Doing so can maximize efficiency and minimize production delays.
Speed Up Production Cycles
It can take a bit of time and planning to figure out an enterprise release management system that works for your organization. But once you get up to speed, you’ll enjoy faster and more efficient production cycles.
With an optimized enterprise release management system in place, your team will be able to increase output and avoid common pitfalls — like testing conflicts, quality issues, and security gaffes, among others
Best Practices for Enterprise Release Management
Operate with Total Visibility
Software development today is all about knocking down silos and improving visibility for team members. Focus on building coordination across projects, teams, and business units to keep everyone on the same page.
When it comes to creating software, it’s impossible to completely avoid using dependencies. But if you aren’t careful, your team can become overly dependent on certain tools. Unfortunately, this can lead to performance issues and delays.
Make it a point to track dependencies and encourage team members to avoid them whenever possible. This will lead to stronger and more resilient software. It will also make it easier to track software as it evolves.
Automate Wherever Possible
One of the best ways to enhance your enterprise release management strategy is to ramp up your use of automation. This can save a tremendous amount of time. And it can also help avoid errors during production
As we explained in a recent post, if a step is too hard to automate, you should consider documenting it.
Overcome Enterprise Release Management Challenges With Enov8
It’s very difficult to produce consistent and high-quality software without a central enterprise release management platform in place. Companies often lose control over their production environment due to outdated and inefficient management policies.
This is exactly where Enov8 comes into play.
Our enterprise release management tool can provide a central framework that enables you to orchestrate releases and measure progress each step of the way. With Enov8, you can help define and build an enterprise release schedule, onboard projects, identify system requirements, and deploy via DevOps automation.
At the same time, we can also help your organization boost agility by giving you more control and automation throughout your software development lifecycle. This, in turn, leads to lower costs, accelerated project timelines, and a supercharged DevOps team.
Ready to unlock the full potential of enterprise release management? Experience Enov8 in action by downloading our ‘Kick Start’ edition today.
This post was written by Justin Reynolds. Justin is a freelance writer who enjoys telling stories about how technology, science, and creativity can help workers be more productive. In his spare time, he likes seeing or playing live music, hiking, and traveling.
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