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Please release me, let me go! To waste... would be a sin
With 16 delegates from across the country – representing a wide array of public and private sector organisations – we knew that there would be a broad range of views and perspectives at our first Masterclass. The event blended breakout sessions, the occasional bit of theory and a lot of experience to help answer numerous release-related questions.
Usually, Masterclasses involve very specific delegate scenarios; however since the requested range of topics was quite broad, the day was based around ‘Dagen H’ – the day that Sweden moved from the left to the right side of the road in 1967 – to see if release management could help. Fittingly, the song quoted in the title of our article was also released as a cover version by Engelbert Humperdinck the same year.
Changing sides of the road might seem an inane subject to tackle, particularly for ITSM practitioners, but we purposefully chose a subject not typically associated with IT release management to break delegates – and their facilitators – out of their comfort zones.
Very quickly we all spotted themes of commonality between deploying IT systems and deploying other resources like road signs and GPS map updates – yes, we agreed that GPS existed in 1967!
Going back to the broad range of topics, we would like to share with you some of the learnings we took from the day that may help you on your release management journey.
1. Keep it simple
There are only so many ways of getting from release preparation to successful delivery. You don’t need to complicate things but you do need to recognise and respect the specific requirements of your stakeholders and the subject matter.
We used a simple Plan > Build > Accept > Deploy approach.
2. Clash of the titans – release versus change
Not surprisingly, this generated a lot of debate. Whilst most attendees liked the split between functional and non-functional as delineators for release and change, others preferred to use scales of complexity or situational judgements about whether a change warranted being formally ‘release managed’.
Rob asked the fairly challenging question, “Do you think the difference between change and release is something that concerns us more than it concerns our customers?”
The answer – perhaps unsurprisingly – was a resounding, “yes”.
3. Scoping releases
This can pose its own set of problems, but consider the following when scoping releases may help:
4. Consider the role of your release manager
There are many types of release management role – but depending on how/where you position your RM function, you might want to consider the following:
5. Continuous delivery, agile, DevOps and waterfall
Whilst most ITSM professionals won’t be involved in helping change the side of the street we drive on, we can help our release managers and customers benefit from delivering more, and breaking less, by continuously improving our approach to people, process and tools.
The feedback from those attending the Masterclass was generally excellent and delegates left with an array of resources including slides, whitepapers, a book and, above all, the shared experience and learning gained from networking with their peers. As someone who has been a delegate and a facilitator, I recommend Masterclasses highly – particularly if you have a new scenario you would like put forward. For more information about the ever increasing range of Masterclass topics, please consult the ITSMF website or office.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the ITSMF UK Transition SIG, please contact Matt Hoey via the website, join our dedicated LinkedIn group, or follow us on Twitter: @itSMFUKTransMgt, @JonMorleyITSM, or @ChangeRelease.