Release Management: Building the Bridge

In the last post from the release management team, we talked about the strategic topic of developing the philosophy of RM being a bridge, and not a barrier, to the deployment and support of applications into the production environment. One of the items listed as necessary to achieving that goal was having a solid understanding of when Operations needs to be engaged in a project. For this post, I wanted to provide a specific example of how we’re delivering on that in the MSCOM world.


As the RM team began to evangelize the updated release criteria checklist, and in particular to identify the right roles with respect to responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed (RACI) parties as they related to each release criteria deliverable, we determined in working with the MSCOM Support Services team that the checklist did not reference them appropriately. As a result, many of the project teams did not know to engage those teams early on in the project, and the Support Services teams didn’t have enough advance notice of those applications to be able to provide the necessary level of support. Once the issue was identified, the Support Services leads were engaged and worked with RM to identify the items for which they needed to be aware in order to provide support in production. We also teamed with them to create a mapping of the appropriate Support Service contact for each application. Armed with this information, we can now work with project PMs to ensure that their Support Service contact is engaged early on in the project, and can help to coordinate the delivery of support information in a timely manner, giving both sides the opportunity to set, and meet, support expectations.


As I said in the last post, the MSCOM RM team still has a ways to go to be the bridge we really want to be, but using the release criteria checklist as a single touchpoint for all of the teams involved in developing, testing, and supporting an application gives us the opportunity to consistently and systematically build the bridges between those teams that makes it easier for everyone to do their job well, and to provide the highest availability and world class support of our applications in the production environment

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