Great Release Management Requires Project Management

Release management impacts every process area in the production environment. In addition its effectiveness and professionalism contributes significantly to the general perception of the development group. The most finely developed product ever is considered useless by the business if it can not be effectively deployed. As such it is critical that release management invest time and resources into effective planning for all of its critical activities.

Release management is the area in operations that is most dependent on structured project management. Each release is a project of limited duration. It begins with an approved RFC and ends with a PIR. Release management conducts many projects simultaneously each with its own schedule and deadlines. ITIL strongly recommends the use of a structured project management framework or methodology to ensure maximum success for individual projects and release management as a whole.

PRINCE2 is the project management methodology recognized by ITIL and adopted by the British government. In the United States the Project Management Institute (PMI) is the primary source of project management guidance.

Given that many development groups are adopting structured project management disciplines for their development activities it would be beneficial for release management to adopt similar discipline. The coordination requirements between release management and development become much easier if both groups recognize the same project definitions, milestones, documentation, and tools