If you’ve ever done a software release, you know how complicated the process can be. One person takes care of everything, from managing project timelines to keeping track of deadlines and scopes.
That’s where release management comes in. With the right processes, you’ll be able to handle even the most complex tasks. Release management manages, plans, and controls software updates to improve quality, speed, and efficiency.
We’ll cover what’s included in the release management process in more detail and provide a checklist to help you get started on your own release plan.
Release Management Overview
Release management manages, plans, and controls software updates through different stages. The goal is to improve software launch quality, speed and efficiency.
This technique ensures teams are ready with the correct information at the right time, increasing the chances of a successful product launch.
The release management life cycle consists of five steps: planning, building, testing, preparing, and deploying software updates. Each step is essential to properly organize and execute a successful release.
Release Manager Job Description and Responsibilities
The job of a Release Manager is severe. He takes care of the preparation process from development (code development) until changes are ready to be released to the production environment.
If the release process is analogous to an orchestra, the Release Manager acts as the conductor who leads the orchestra. He has to coordinate with many parties, such as developers, and quality assurance to users.
Some of these roles include:
1. Arrange a release schedule; in some industries, a release schedule must be adhered to. For example, it is prohibited at the beginning and end of the month. It is not permitted at the end of the year and the month that has Eid (in Indonesia).
2. Prepare release scenarios; preparing this scenario must be detailed enough to be carried out by the officer conducting the release. Release managers must coordinate engineers, developers, and QA with users/business teams in this area.
3. Prepare a fallback / roll back plan; this section is mandatory. We never know what will happen upon release. This plan’s absence can potentially disrupt operational activities in the production area.
4. Coordinating — negotiating with users/business teams regarding release plans down to the detail level.
5. Coordinate with the Change Management team to ensure the scope of the release.
6. Conduct a review of the effectiveness of the release activities that have been carried out. If it is less effective, the release manager needs to find/research to get a better method or method.
To excel in the role of a release manager, it’s important to have both technical skills and soft skills.
Technical skills include:
1. Good level of PC knowledge
2. An excellent understanding of computer software and programming
3. Expert knowledge in a specific area of engineering.
4. Solid understanding of Continuous Delivery and Continuous Integration (CD/CI) pipelines.
Non-Technical Skills include:
1. Ability to coordinate multiple teams
2. Ensure tasks are completed in time
4. Advanced communication skills
5. Problem-solving skills
6. Adaptability skills
With more companies adopting agile software development and releasing more frequently, release managers must also be proficient in using application-release automation (ARA) tools such as Buildmaster, Puppet Enterprise, Visual Studio Release Management, and ElectricFlow to implement continuous delivery quickly.
When considering a career as a release manager, one of the initial factors to consider is the level of education required. Based on our research, it’s been found that 69.5% of release managers hold a bachelor’s degree.
Additionally, 18.6% of release managers have obtained a master’s degree. Although a college degree is common among release managers, it’s possible to enter the field with just a high school diploma or GED.
Another important aspect to consider is selecting the appropriate major. Our research indicates that the most common majors among release managers include computer science, business, and electrical engineering.
Choosing a major in one of these fields can provide a solid foundation for a career as a release manager. Here are some majors you can take to become a Release Manager:
1. Computer Science
3. Electrical Engineering
4. Computer Information Systems
Consider a Master’s Degree
Another option to consider is obtaining a master’s degree in software development. This advanced degree can set you apart from other professionals seeking a release manager role.
During a master’s program, you have the opportunity to gain deeper knowledge of software development and enhance your technology skills.
Many master’s programs offer part-time course options for professionals who want to continue working while pursuing an education. This allows you the opportunity to work as a full-time software developer or release manager while also earning a master’s degree.
Training and Internship
Release managers typically receive minimal post-employment, on-the-job training, with an average duration of less than one month. During this period, new release managers acquire the necessary skills and techniques specific to their job and employer.
To become a professional in release management, gaining experience in software development and testing is crucial. One way to start is by pursuing an entry-level role as a software developer and working your way up to an associate software developer position.
With enough experience under your belt, you can then aim for a role in release management.
According to ZipRecruiter, the salary for a release manager is between $73,000 and $161,000, depending on the size of the company and the level of experience each individual has. The average salary in the USA is around $105,000 a year.
How much does a Release Manager make?
Similar Roles to Release Manager
Here is a list of positions similar to release managers:
Quality assurance specialist
Release Manager vs Release DevOps Manager
A Release Manager in IT is responsible for overseeing the entire software delivery life cycle, from planning to deployment, through the development and testing phases.
It includes working closely with the development team to ensure that all aspects of the project are running smoothly and on schedule.
On the other hand, a DevOps Release Manager not only manages the development and IT operation teams from start to finish, but also focuses on planning shorter feedback loops and faster releases.
This requires working closely with teams from the beginning of the project and following agile methodologies such as PMI, SCRUM, and ITIL to identify and resolve any issues in a timely manner.
Additionally, the DevOps Release Manager must have a strong understanding of DevOps and the tools associated with it.