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Not All Release Management Is Created Equal

Application delivery specialist Serena Software is usually vocal on the subject of software rollout out inside what the firm terms an "orchestrated" IT environment. The firm's chief evangelist Kevin Parker states that not all software releases are created equal so it is a false premise to have standardized processes, controls, and deliverables for all releases.

Parker contends that release teams want to be able to vary the controls imposed during the release process to meet individual project needs at different stages in the project lifecycle.

"What this means is allowing developers to drive the release cadence in some situations and to allow operations to drive at other times. [We advocate] a collaborative approach amongst DEV, DEVOPS, and OPS to determine where the 'trust line' is along the release continuum," said Parker.

In Serena's view, fast-paced projects need continuous delivery during test and integration and should be "as repeatable as possible" and have minimal controls to maximize velocity. This will mean that automation of every step of the process is essential to maximize speed and minimize error.

According to Parker, automated instantiation of test environments (physical, virtual, and cloud) and automated deployment to these environments is essential to maintain that delivery cadence.

"But that does not mean throwing out the pre-production verification, controls, and reporting. Once the trust line has been set this becomes the point at which appropriately defined, service-transition processes are invoked. Once again though, we believe that, on a project-by-project basis, controls should be set accordingly. Critical to this is a central IT-calendar so there is clear understanding of which projects cross the trust-line and when, what their current trajectory is," said Parker.

"Our goal here is to liberate the DEV teams so that continuous delivery is no more complex or involved than using the version management system. We want to facilitate the agility of the team to meet the project's profile while ensuring the organization governance is complied with but not in the way," he added.

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