Release Notes, Tools & Resources

13 Release Management Tools for Release Managers

With the cloud reigning supreme in the technology space, Release management is the backbone of software development processes for many teams. Interestingly though, it is difficult to point to one single thing & call it ‘release management’. In reality, the release management process consists of planning, scheduling, executing & refining steps across the entire software development lifecycle. A foolproof release management strategy is key to rolling out successful builds consistently and efficiently.

As software development teams continue to adopt agile development processes, release frequency keeps going up. Deploying releases requires teams to be fast without compromising on reliability & stability of their products or services. Release management tools can help teams efficiently manage and automate the processes so that you can focus on delivering value for your stakeholders. 

Key Features Of Release Management Tools

The right release management tool can go a long way in helping you ship out builds faster while minimizing downtime & maximizing the value for customers. Given that the release management itself consists of so many facets, many different release management tools exist addressing different parts of the process, each with unique features and capabilities. However, it would be best to choose the release management tools that are right for your team. 

Some of the features you should look for in the tool you are considering:

Key features to choose release management tools

1. Automation:

Release management tools often include automation capabilities that allow teams to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks, such as building, unit or performance testing, and deploying code.

2. Collaboration:

Allowing teams to collaborate and share information, updates is a key aspect of any tool that would potentially assist you in your release management process.

3. Release planning:

Features for planning and scheduling releases, such as calendars, timelines, and roadmaps are a must if your releases span across multiple teams & departments.

4. Deployment:

Tools that will help manage deployment across multiple environments will be a necessity as your process matures. Such tools will become indispensable with time.

5. Rollout Management:

Feature flag tools are in vogue these days. Their ability to target specific groups/users along with the support for A/B testing just takes the release management sophistication at a whole new level.

6. Metrics and analytics:

Finally, to gather objective feedback & improve your processes further – your Release management stack would often include tools to measure & keep track of metrics/analytics.

How to Choose a Release Management Tool?

Factors to consider when choosing a release management tool are almost the same that you’d consider while finalizing any piece of software for your team. To brush things up, we are pointing out those factors below:

1. Ease of use:

One or more tools that you decide to use across different parts of the release management process should be easy to use and intuitive for team members of all skill levels.

2. Flexibility:

Such tool/s should be flexible and adaptable to your team and organization’s specific needs and requirements.

3. Integration:

This is by far the most important one. Given the myriad number of software used across the entire software development lifecycle, it is imperative that the release management tool/s offer out of the box powerful integrations.

4. Scalability:

Depending on the size of your organization & complexity of your release management processes, the tool/s you choose must stand ground for the long term.

5. Support:

Of course, if you intend to pay for the tool/s you would expect top notch & strong customer support from the provider. 

6. Cost:

And finally, looking at the RoI the release management tool should be cost-effective and offer good value for money.

It can be helpful to research and compare different tools in the release management space to see which ones meet your team’s specific needs and requirements. You can also check for recommendations within your professional network & learn from their experience.

13 Release Management Tools Comparison

Tool Key FeaturePricing
JiraBuilt-in templates for Scrum and Kanban, that integrates with popular tools such as Slack, Figma etcStart for free
PlutoraTeams have complete visibility can as you integrate existing tools and data into a single platformRequest demo
AnsibleSimplifies complex process, helps to scale automation and collaborate with teams.Start trial
QA WolfHelps to catch errors and bugs early, so that you can develop and delivery products out fasterRequest demo
ClariveDelivers an integrated experience to Dev and Ops, also supports release managementRequest demo
ChefScale continuous delivery accross multiple applications and environmentsFree trial
LaunchDarklyCentralized hub for managing feature flags and tools, for tracking and performance analysisStarts with $8.33
CloudbeesProvides visibility across pipeline tools and teams, to manage and release features at an enterprise scaleStart for free
Octopus DeployManaging deployments, with tools for configuring and customizing their release processStarts with $10
AWS CodePipelineEnables teams to automate their build, test, and deployment processes on the Amazon Web Services platform.Start for free
PuppetPlatform for managing and automating infrastructure, helps with tools for deploying and configuring code.Free trial
Google Cloud BuildEnables teams to automate their build, test, and deployment processes on the Google Cloud Platform.Start for free
TerraformProvides infrastructure automation to all teams in the organization for security and complianceStart for free

13 Release Management Tools for Release Management:

Like we said earlier, the release management process consists of various aspects & you’d rarely find one tool covering all the bases. Thus, the tools that we talk about below cover one or more aspects with great results & also offer integrations for implementing the whole flow together. Eventually, you may end up stitching a release management process that goes through multiple of such tools.

1. Jira

Jira is one of the most popular release and project management software used by agile teams. It has built-in templates for Scrum and Kanban and integrates with popular tools such as Slack, Figma etc. And then there are plethora of apps available in the Atlassian marketplace to solve different use cases.

Jira release management tool

2. Plutora

Plutora has fast become a favorite among release management tools. It can integrate existing tools and data into a single platform so that teams have complete visibility into their release process. In addition, it has built-in dashboards and customization engines for visibility into the entire release process.

Plutora release management tool

3. Ansible

Acquired by Red Hat, Ansible has powerful automation capabilities to simplify complex processes. The enterprise-level release management tool has features to scale automation and empower teams with collaboration. Some of the features included in the platform are automation execution environments, automation controllers, automation mesh, and Red Hat insights.

Ansible release management tool

4. QA Wolf

QA Wolf is designed primarily to help catch bugs early so that clean builds can be shipped out faster. This test automation tool will be one cog in the wheel of release management tools to guarantee the quality of delivery.

QA Wolf release management tool

5. Clarive

Another popular tool, Clarive, claims to be the first to deliver an integrated experience to Dev and Ops. From a fast Git server to continuous integration and Kanban Boards to custom dashboards, Clarive is a feature-rich platform that can support release management effectively.

Clarive release management tool

6. Chef

Chef is a feature-rich tool that enables teams to scale continuous delivery across multiple applications and environments. Its compliance module provides DevSecOps automation so that organizations remain agile while reducing risk.

Chef release management tool

7. LaunchDarkly

LaunchDarkly is a feature flag management platform that enables teams to quickly and easily manage, roll out, and test new features in their codebase. The platform provides teams with a centralized hub for managing their feature flags and tools for tracking and analyzing the performance of their code.

LaunchDarkly release management tool

8. Cloudbees

Cloudbees is a self-service, scalable platform that can help manage and release features at an enterprise scale. It provides visibility across pipeline tools, releases, and teams. Its compliance module can ensure that assets are always compliant and detail the risk that needs to be mitigated.

Cloudbees release management tool

9. Octopus Deploy

Octopus Deploy is a release management tool that provides teams with a simple and intuitive interface for managing their deployments and tools for configuring and customizing their release process.

Octopus Deploy release management tool

10. AWS CodePipeline

AWS CodePipeline is a release management tool that enables teams to automate their build, test, and deployment processes on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform.

AWS CodePipeline release management tool

11. Puppet

Puppet is a release management tool that provides teams with a platform for managing and automating their infrastructure and tools for deploying and configuring code.

Puppet release management tool

12. Google Cloud Build

Google Cloud Build is a release management tool that enables teams to automate their build, test, and deployment processes on the Google Cloud Platform.

Google Cloud Build release management tool

13. Terraform

Terraform is a release management tool that provides teams with a platform for managing and automating their infrastructure and tools for deploying and configuring code.

Terraform release management tool

Conclusion

The right release management tool can give your team the edge in the next rollout as they come with powerful features.

 
If your software development team is already using Jira for their day to day activities, our Release planning & reports app for Jira will take the Release management experience to a whole new level.

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