ITIL or information technology infrastructure library is aimed at setting a standard for any organization’s IT functioning. In theory, a solid ITIL 4 foundation is extremely important for any organization for its smooth day-to-day functioning. Release management is a small part of this ITIL framework.
Release management aims to enable any organization’s services and systems to scale and thus, support its ever-increasing business requirements. In essence, release management is a process that facilitates the movement of any project from development to production. Release management envisions to protect the integrity of the environment in which a project can live out its lifetime. It also ensures that all the ensuing project tools and components are production-ready and deployed in time.
There are many upsides of implementing robust release management in any organization. However, before we shift the narrative, it is crucial first to gain more information about the ITIL framework.
ITIL for beginners
ITIL or information technology infrastructure library began its journey in the form of a book that contained all the IT practices which would improve both the efficiency and the quality of the end product delivered by the organization. However, due to its sheer size, ITIL was quickly divided into smaller volumes and chapters which talk and cater to a particular niche at a time. Nowadays, it is commonplace to see ITIL being implemented with a certain degree of precision in any high functioning IT-based organization.
ITIL is also ever-evolving. ITIL 4 is the latest installment, which improved upon an already solid foundation laid by this framework’s first iteration. It is estimated that irrespective of the size and the nature of the organization, the practices laid down in ITIL 4 would help any business reach and even cross its predicted threshold.
There are many facets to ITIL, which covers a colossal ground including the best practices from risk management to release management and everything in between. Several fundamental principles, when combined, form the entire ITIL framework. We have listed them below:
- Ensuring the quality of the end consumer product
- Ensuring that all the resources are well optimized and utilized to their full extent
- Ensuring that the services which are offered are both trustworthy and useful
- Ensuring that all the processes currently in production have the end goal in mind
- Ensuring that all the roles and responsibilities are well defined for every task
What is Release Management?
Release and deployment management, often referred to as release management, happens to be one of the primary processes under the ‘Service Transition’ wing of the more powerful ITIL framework. According to the definition laid down by ITIL, release management is the process through which the rolling out of IT services is both scheduled and planned. The deployment of any subsequent updates also falls under the umbrella of release management.
The entire process of release management could be broken down into six steps, which are listed down below with brief explanations:
- Support of release management: It is the set of guidelines that is used to support any deployment process. Every role and responsibility is chalked down with great detail in this step.
- Planning the release: This step is where all the scopes and contents of the release are decided upon and defined. The contents have to be decided to keep the management policies in mind.
- Build of the release: In this step, all the actual development of all the components which are to be released takes place. All the purchasing decisions are also made in this process.
- Deployment of the actual release: The actual deployment of the final build of the release takes place in this step.
- Support post the release: In this step, both the risk management and release management teams combine to monitor the product which is deployed. They work in conjunction to ensure the smooth functioning of the release.
- Closure: This step is the last step of the process. Here the release is properly closed, and the documentation is completed and uploaded.
Why is it important?
The main reason why release management was brought to life was to plan, schedule, and also to have control over the final IT product that rolls off the shelves of any IT-based organization. Since IT is often a transient world, companies and their needs evolve over time. This is another objective of release management, i.e., to provide a safe passage to make changes with a degree of safety and certainty.
There are other reasons why release management is important for any IT organization. Some of them are listed below:
- When release management is enabled, it ensures that all the new features and services reach the end-user faster.
- It also reduces the security risk associated. When release management is in place, unauthorized versions of the apps and services which could be potentially buggy have less chance of being released for the public.
- It creates a schedule for deployment. It helps the organization to save time and reduce the impact of newer releases on the overall user base.
- The services or features which are changed are ensured to meet the requirements of the company when release management is in place.
- It allows for a better transfer of knowledge to both the staff of support and the end-users, leading to a smooth change overall.
It is imperative for any IT-based company to have a good ITIL 4 foundation in place. ITIL provides some much-needed quality of life improvements for both the end-users and the employees of the organization. The value of ITIL 4 regarding release management is quite significant and it could positively impact your organization, on the whole.