Introduction:

Release planning is the first stage of release and deployment management that sets the foundation for a set of changes, whether it be minor, major, or an emergency situation.

Effective release and deployment management that starts with a proper planning process allows the service provider to add value by:

  • Delivering change at a quicker pace and at an optimum cost with minimum risks involved.

  • Giving assurance to the customers and users that they can make use of the changed service in a way that can support their business goals.

Establishing a thorough, standardized planning process also ensures better communication with change management and other personnel who are affected by various IT service changes. 

The main aim of a release and deployment plan is to clearly illustrate a set of guidelines regarding what should be included in a release and how it will be deployed into production.

This checklist enables you to do just that, walking you through:

  • Summarizing the release
  • Conducting a risk analysis
  • Identifying the target audience
  • Defining a chain of approval
  • Defining the strategy for deployment
  • Determining a time schedule
  • Gaining approval from change management

This is how to get your upcoming release off to a great start. 

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Enter basic details

To kick off the release planning process, enter basic details regarding the release owner and the nature of the release. 

Release summary:

State reason for the release

Clearly write the reason for the release in the text field below. 

What problem is the release going to solve and/or how will it improve business operations?

Clarify changes included in the release

Clarify what changes will be included in the release.

Everything from quick minor changes to those that will cause major service disruptions must be included.

Identify the parties who will be affected

Who is going to be affected by this release? 

This can include individuals, teams, functions, departments, or even the organization as a whole. 

Risk analysis:

Identify risks of introducing the release

Identify the risks of introducing the release and write them down below. 

Determine countermeasures

Write down a set of countermeasures that you and the release planning team agree would minimize the amount of risk and maximize the chances of the release being successful. 

Approval: Release plan is justified

Will be submitted for approval:
  • State reason for the release
    Will be submitted
  • Clarify changes included in the release
    Will be submitted
  • Identify the parties who will be affected
    Will be submitted
  • Identify risks of introducing the release
    Will be submitted
  • Determine countermeasures
    Will be submitted

Target audience:

Identify the suitable audience

Who is the audience for this particular release?

Team ownership:

Define a chain of approval

Defining a clear chain of approval that everyone on the team understands is essential to progressing through the release process efficiently and without delays that result from poor communication and a lack of accountability. 

Clarify authorization for each stage of the release

This is simply an extension of the previous task, in which you take it a step further and break down authorization for specific stages of the release. 

There are 3 stages below, which we recommend you adjust the names of to reflect the stages of your unique release and feel free to add more text fields if there are more than 3 stages that require different levels of authorization. 

Outline responsibilities of team leaders

Next, outline the responsibilities of each team leader.

Stage 1 team leader: {{form.Release_stage_1_-_Team_leader}}

Stage 2 team leader: {{form.Release_stage_2_-_Team_leader}}

Stage 3 team leader: {{form.Release_stage_3_-_Team_leader}}

Strategy & schedule:

Define the strategy for deployment

Define what the strategy for deployment is.

This includes:

  • Communication to affected parties
  • Testing process
  • Back-out plan
  • Time schedule (following task)

Define a time schedule

Define a time schedule for the release.

This includes:

  • Start date (when work on the release begins)
  • Milestone deadlines (e.g. completion of each stage)
  • Ideal release data

Approval: Release plan is finalized

Will be submitted for approval:
  • State reason for the release
    Will be submitted
  • Clarify changes included in the release
    Will be submitted
  • Identify the parties who will be affected
    Will be submitted
  • Identify risks of introducing the release
    Will be submitted
  • Determine countermeasures
    Will be submitted
  • Identify the suitable audience
    Will be submitted
  • Define a chain of approval
    Will be submitted
  • Clarify authorization for each stage of the release
    Will be submitted
  • Outline responsibilities of team leaders
    Will be submitted
  • Define the strategy for deployment
    Will be submitted
  • Define a time schedule
    Will be submitted

Sources:

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