Project Management, Release Notes

Roles & Responsibilities Of A Release Manager

By on December 16, 2019

Release management is still an emerging discipline in software development.

But, it is also growing rapidly due to technological changes. Release management as a discipline emerged from the sector’s shift from project-based offerings to product-based ones. Before the shift, programmers viewed individual releases as projects instead of products. 

As processes became more complex, a need to co-ordinate these phases emerged. This led to the emergence of release management. It includes a number of steps ranging from release planning & design to customer communication, support.

Keep above overview in mind & it’ll be easier for us to appreciate Roles & responsibilities of a release manager.

Understanding the Release Management Process 

Below is a quick run through of the release management process. Of course the process may vary depending on many variables, but the major steps will remain same. Enterprises enhance their software’s speed, quality, and efficiency by focusing on release management. This process includes the following components:

  • Planning 
  • Scheduling
  • Managing program’s build through their various development phases
  • Testing 
  • Deployment 
  • Release support

The management process depends on several techniques that help to optimize its usefulness. Some of them are:

Moreover, the discipline borrows heavily from other fields. Such as business-oriented project management, IT Infrastructure Library, and understanding of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

The Difference Between a Project and a Release Manager

Many similarities exist between the two disciplines from which project and release managers draw their job descriptions. So naturally these terms tend to be confusing for many. Let us briefly look at differences between a release manager and a project manager.

Release Manager

A release manager’s primary responsibility is to focus on the fine details of assembling different interrelated components. To satisfy a complex or solution-based release. Release manager coordinates with different stakeholders for requirements, testing and release calendar of necessary components. They ensure co-ordinated running of day-to-day processes.

Planning with several software development teams is a part of release manager’s duty. They govern and manage schedules to satisfy interdependencies. Their primary aim is to deliver a solution in the hands of the customers as soon as possible. Apart from that they ensure quality benchmarks are met.

Project Manager

Inversely, a project manager focuses on a project’s higher dimensions. Such as resource management to make it remain within budgetary limits and quality standards. Their jobs may or may not produce a release of the projects they oversee. Project managers deliver one or more components for release, that they are responsible for.

Key Roles and Responsibilities of a Release Manager

Here is complete coverage of a release manager’s roles and responsibilities –

  • Managing risks and resolving challenges that impact release scope, quality, and schedules 
  • Planning release windows and cycles across portfolios, components
  • Managing relationships working on interrelated processes
  • Communicating crucial release plans and changes 
  • Measuring and monitoring progress to achieve timely software releases within defined budgetary limits and defined quality standards 
  • Coordinating processes between different teams (possibly in various locations) 
  • Communicating necessary release details to business teams
  • Managing, planning, and negotiating release activities
  • Initiating and overseeing progressive release processes
  • Coordinating release content and efforts based on OS updates and third-party apps
  • Producing deployment, implementation and run books plans
  • Conducting release readiness and milestone reviews
  • Maintaining release schedules for every core service and ensuring it aligns with major vendors and other stakeholders
  • Working with release engineers to comprehend code merges and branch ramifications 
  • Leading and coordinating checklist and deployment plan execution 
  • Developing automation tools and scripts necessary for building, integrating, and deploying software releases 
  • Researching new software development and the best methods and techniques for managing configurations regarding a business’s existing needs
  • Ensuring that releases operate as per expectations 
  • Ensuring that requirements are clear across dependent project streams with a release
  • Initiating and overseeing the development of technical guides and training for external functionality 
  • Managing the development of deliverables into production
  • Validating release notes
  • Managing the deployment of deliverables to the test environment particularly guaranteeing that external dependent items are available the test runtime

Core Skills and Qualifications Release Managers Need

So, what kind of skills, experience, and academic qualifications does a release manager need? Here are some of the necessary qualifications for this job.

  • Excellent programming skills and experience
  • Ability to manage software infrastructure & configurations
  • A computer science degree or a similar discipline 
  • A two to six-year experience in project or release management 
  • An expert understanding of software development lifecycle
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent analytical  skills
  • Structured thinking
  • Experience in coordinating cross-functional work teams up to task completion

The facts are out and clear. Now you know what it entails to work as a release manager. We hope these insights will enable you to understand how best to interact with this discipline even as you enjoy its benefits in your business. 

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