Software Release Life Cycle Phases
Downtime, Bugs, Angry Users
Ever been through the process and scratching heads and generating panic every now and then. If this is so you need to take a close look at your release management process. Due to ever-evolving product IT requirements and business standards you can't afford to release the half-baked product's to the market. Yet, an overwhelming 75% of issues are a result of changes in software or its environment.
Not only you will lose users, you can even lose millions of businesses for just some mistakes that could be taken care of well in advance through the release management plan. You need to invest in a robust release management plan which would involve testing out products in phases in a structured manner and that would lead to a planned release in a smooth manner.
What is release management?
Ever been in a situation where your product needs multiple changes which are considered significant to the business and users' effectiveness. Every change involves the use of a release management plan, which takes care of the whole process from development integrating testing through release.
Release management is very important for product QA and making sure every aspect and constraint involved in the final release and matching that up with the original plan bringing it to a stage where the development team, product owner, and any stakeholder is satisfied with the release for smooth operations. Release management typically involves 5 steps:
1. Plan Release
Release planning is the very first step towards successful release management is a very intensive process that defines how the release is to be maintained, managed, executed, monitored, and controlled. A proper release plan will help the team, managers to be on track and make sure all the required standards are met.
There are several ways to approach a release plan. One of the most popular release management methods is the systems development life cycle (SDLC).
The SDLC helps software developers plan, develop, maintain, and replace software systems with a high degree of efficiency and quality. The SDLC can be used in conjunction or in place of other project management processes.
During this stage, create a workflow that both your team and key stakeholders can refer to throughout a release.
The workflow should explain at a glance how the whole release is staged and how each team member plays a part. Your release plan should include:
•The overall scope of the project
There are multiple ways to map out your plan and clarify the process. One option is a release management checklist. The checklist should outline the process functions and responsibilities in roughly chronological order. When your team looks at the checklist, they should be able to quickly establish what step they are on and what their role or responsibility is.
Once your plan is sketched out, present it to all relevant stakeholders (your team, product manager, and high-level leaders) for review. Get their feedback on any gaps or problems they see in the requirements or scope. Once the plan is approved and finalized, you can put it into action.
2. Build Release
After the plan is laid out the lifecycle goes into the execution mode which is the building the release, this step involves the actual development of the product and completing laid out sprints for the final product. This could involve many iterations over the product and coming back and forth to this phase as the product after this is sent to user acceptance testing.
While the development process test cases should be build up using the release management plan which should be including how the test cases should be built out to test the planned out acceptance of the product.
3. User acceptance testing
User acceptance testing is also known as UAT is the stage where the product is ready from the previous stage for final users to test, this could be done via a beta release which is sent to the users or the internal employees to test out the product with the features it was built for. This an iterative process involving continuous testing and sending back the product with feedback as per various release versions.
UAT is a crucial step that decides whether the product is ready for the planned release or it still needs improvements which would be done via the next iterations over the product. UAT makes sure the product is at the stage where it could be sent for the final release and match the release management plan.
4. Prepare release
This step is to put the finishing touches on the product, taking into account everything that was learned in UAT. Release preparation also includes a final quality review by the QA team.
During the review, the QA team will conduct final checks to ensure the build meets the minimum acceptable standards and business requirements outlined in the release plan.
Although UAT and quality assurance can’t always replicate every scenario that might occur once the product is launched, these steps hopefully fleshed out the most common bugs so that your team can better anticipate and prevent any problems at launch.
Once the review is completed, the functional team will validate the findings and finalize the release for deployment. Before the build can deploy into a live environment, it must be approved by the product owner.
5. Deploy release
The big day has finally arrived and here is where all your team’s hard work pays off. It’s time to release your product into the wilds of the live production environment.
Besides simply sending the build-out into production, the deployment stage also includes messaging and education on the product to both the end-user and your company at large.
For instance, users should be notified of changes with the release and how to operate within the new features. Depending on how significant the changes were, you may need to provide robust and ongoing training to get everyone up to speed.
This is especially important for internal releases where employees using the software need to understand it to do their work efficiently and productively.
Finally, during the deployment stage, the development team should meet to assess the release’s performance and discuss how the deployment went. If there are any lingering issues, those should be identified and documented for the team to address in the next iteration.
Release management oversees a constantly changing process. Each release is an opportunity to refine everything from your workflow to your checklis~~striked out~~t as your team discovers what roadmap works best for what kind of launch—and what doesn’t.
A consultant could help you out with every aspect of the product making sure you get the best out of your product with the most effective process which would optimize resources and project constraints. You can book a free session to see what can you be missing out on your product.
Rohan Girdhani Your Sherlock Holmes