Release: The Benefits of Deployment Planning
by Ukpai Ugochi
It is the goal of every software engineer and software development firm to continuously ship products to end users. This can only be achieved through software deployment.
In this post, we’ll explore deployment and deployment planning, what they need, and how they benefit software development. We’ll also take a look at some steps for successive planning and deployment. Finally, we’ll discuss release management and some tools that can help with deployment planning.
Deployment encompasses every activity in the process of making already developed software available and accessible to users. This does not only apply to new software. It also applies to software updates.
Deployment activities may include the following: software releases, installation, testing, and performance monitoring. Deployment is crucial, so you need to carefully prepare for it.
Next, let’s explore deployment planning and why it’s useful.
What Is Deployment Planning?
Failure to plan is planning to fail. This maxim applies to software development as much as it applies to anything else. Therefore, enterprises need to plan for successful software deployment. Deployment planning can be manual or automated, but automated planning is much more efficient and effective.
Deployment planning requires acknowledging every process that will lead to success, including release, installation, testing, and performance monitoring. Nothing should be left out, no matter how minor it may seem. Excellence is the key performance indicator, even if you’re only fixing a bug. It helps shield IT firms from mistakes and saves time and resources.
Next, let’s dive into the need for deployment planning. Why does it really matter?
The Benefits of Deployment Planning
The way and manner in which your software is deployed plays a major role in determining how successful your software will be. Software development is hectic enough as it is. Why make it more complicated with a lack of deployment planning?
Let’s look at what you stand to gain when you plan your deployment:
1. Significant Time Savings
With deployment planning, developers can create a deployment schedule as well as map out the resources that are needed for deployment. This helps developers save time because the hardware, software, human resources, and so on that are necessary for deployment are in place beforehand. With proper planning comes the proper scheduling of processes for a successful delivery.
When developers schedule times for software releases, installation, testing, and performance monitoring, they will have resources in place and can avoid a last-minute rush.
2. Increased Productivity and Efficiency
Let’s imagine that Tim and Doe are both software engineers in charge of software deployment for different organizations. Tim doesn’t give much heed to testing and performance monitoring, while Doe follows the processes from software release to performance monitoring sequentially. Tim won’t get proper user feedback from his firm’s release.
He also won’t evaluate the efficiency of his product properly. But Doe will.
With Doe’s approach, firms can increase productivity. This will enable them to continue shipping products that add value to customers.
3. No Dead-on-Arrival Releases From the End User’s Perspective
Do you wonder why some firms lose customers when they ship new products to users? It’s usually because they don’t ship features that are important. The goal of every new product or feature should be to increase the user base, retaining old users while reaching out to new ones.
However, this goal won’t be achieved if there are few returning customers or new customers after new releases. With deployment planning in place, developers can measure product efficiency as well as receive feedback from users. This will allow them to have real users in mind the next time they ship something.
4. Better Organization, Review What the Company Is Working on at a Glance
Deployment planning helps developers know for certain what they’re working on, what needs to be achieved, and what has been achieved. It gives them the flexibility to revisit the deployment plan whenever there’s a problem. Better organization also gives firms an edge when they need to bring a new developer into the process. This is because processes are documented properly.
5. Risk Mitigation
Software deployment comes with a lot of risks, such as crashes, products unresponsiveness, the shipping of products that don’t add value to users, and so on. All of these risks can be mitigated with proper deployment planning.
When developers add new functionality to their products or ship new products, they need to test them.
Does the code work? Is the design good? Are there any broken links?
In the right test environment, developers can monitor their product’s responsiveness and performance.
For this reason, it’s important that developers plan their deployments properly. If you carry out all processes judiciously, you can reduce risks to the bare minimum. If the risks ain’t mitigated, they’ll cost money, time, and other resources to fix.
How to Go About Deployment Planning
In deployment planning, the project leader must outline the scope, approach, and execution method. The plan has to include factors like the scheduling of tasks, project tracking, and overall management.
The deployment plan also has to outline each step of the deployment process in detail. This involves tracking every process that’s required for success. All deployment goals and critical success factors must be taken into account. These include how the team members will communicate, the tasks and resources available, and the responsibilities of every party involved.
As mentioned above, deployment planning can be done manually, but it’s more efficient and effective when automated. There are software platforms that can help. This is where release management and release tools fit in.
The Use of Release Management and Release Tools in Deployment Planning
Release management includes planning, managing, and scheduling releases. It also includes the control of software builds from the onset of development to testing and bug fixing to the final release. It places numerous processes under a single umbrella, and it is an evolving discipline that has grown rapidly over the years.
There’s a subfield within release management called enterprise release management (ERM). Release management helps companies focus on the development of a single project or a group of related projects. Enterprise release management coordinates multiple software development groups within an enterprise that roll out multiple releases over a number of years.
Some tools are available that help software firms develop, test, plan, track, deploy, and release software. They eliminate the hurdles of manual deployments by creating, managing, and assigning automated deployment task lists. Dashboards provide quick insights into the entire release management lifecycle.
Hands-on Experience With a Release Management Tool
Deployment planning gives software development firms an edge, and automating the processes involved can provide a rocket-like boost.
The Enov8 enterprise release management tool centrally controls deployments and releases. It does so by providing a full range of automated task aids such as release scoping, project registration, master scheduling, project tracking, environment and system contention management, implementation and deployment coordination, deployment version tracking, post-implementation reviews, and real-time executive reporting. To fully grasp how release management tools work, the project team lead must have hands-on experience. But don’t worry. The Enov8 tool comes with a free evaluation.
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