Playbook: Release Management
In the world of software development, effective release management is essential for the seamless delivery of products and updates. It requires meticulous planning, collaboration, and a structured approach to ensure every release succeeds. The Release Management Playbook Template is a valuable resource that can help streamline your release process, making it more efficient and reliable.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the Release Management Playbook Template, examining its key components and sharing expert insights to help you master the art of release management.
Step 1: Create a Release Ticket
The journey begins with creating a release ticket in Jira, a crucial step that sets the stage for the upcoming release. This ticket, generated 14 days before the release date, serves as a placeholder in the Release-Board. It’s identified by a unique fix version ID, such as RB-73. This ensures that the release is meticulously tracked throughout its lifecycle.
Step 2: Document the Release
Comprehensive documentation is key to a successful release. Creating a Confluence page that includes details like release date-time, tickets, infrastructure changes, rollout plan, and rollback plan is essential. Sharing this information with all stakeholders via email or links fosters transparency and alignment.
Step 3: Ticket Identification and Tagging
Identifying and tagging relevant tickets is crucial to ensure that every element of the release is accounted for. By creating fix versions in all related Jira boards and tagging tickets accordingly, you maintain a well-structured and organized release process.
Step 4: Code Branching
Development teams should create branches with the RB-* prefix from the production branch. These branches serve as consolidated spaces for code from different feature branches. It’s essential to include the ticket ID in the branch name for easy tracking and reference.
Step 5: Code Review and Merge
Developers are responsible for getting their code reviewed and merging it into the appropriate RB-* branch. Code quality and compliance with the release ticket are critical in this phase to ensure that only approved changes make it to the final build.
Step 6: Initiate a Ticket
Two weeks before the release, the release manager takes the lead in initiating a Freshservice ticket. This ticket contains comprehensive details about the impending release, including date-time and links to the Confluence page outlining both rollout and rollback strategies. This step ensures that everyone is on the same page regarding the upcoming release.
Step 7: Prepare for Deployment
As the scheduled release date approaches, it’s essential to prepare for deployment meticulously. The DevOps team or designated teams play a critical role in this phase, performing various checks and balances, including:
- Identifying all tickets tagged with the placeholder fix-version
- Verifying that all pull requests are approved and merged against release-candidate branches
- Creating a valid fix-version
- Reporting and resolving any discrepancies
- Verifying each commit against a valid tagged ticket
- Updating all tickets with the valid fix-version
- Creating a pull request against the production branch
Step 8: CI/CD Pipeline and Monitoring
Once everything is in order, trigger the CI/CD pipeline through PR merging and closely monitor the deployment using CI/CD tools. This ensures that the release process proceeds smoothly and that any issues are addressed promptly.
Step 9: Post-Deployment Checks
After successful deployment in production, it’s time to perform post-deployment checks and tasks, including:
- Updating Jira ticket statuses
- Finalizing release versions
- Notifying the team of the successful deployment
- Tagging the repository
- Synchronizing release details to centralized storage, such as an S3 bucket
- Having QA publish the combined release notes
Step 10: Reverse Merge
Finally, post-deployment, it’s essential to conduct a reverse merge to other branches, such as staging, QA, and development branches. This step ensures that the release is synchronized across the entire development environment.12
The Release Management Playbook Template is a valuable tool for optimizing your release management process. It provides a structured, step-by-step approach to ensure that each release is executed smoothly, efficiently, and with a high level of transparency and accountability. By following this playbook, you can enhance your organization’s ability to deliver high-quality software products and updates, meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving technology landscape.