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Release Management
This discipline of IT Service Management is the management of all software configuration items within the organisation. It is responsible for the management of software development, installation and support of an organisation’s software products.

Software is often not regarded as a tangible asset because of its intangible nature, which results in it not being effectively controlled. There can be several versions of the same software within the organization, and there can also be unlicensed and illegal copies of externally provided software.

The practice of effective Software Control & Distribution (SC&D) involves the creation of a Definitive Software Library (DSL), into which the master copies of all software is stored and from here its control and release is managed. The DSL consists of a physical store and a logical store.
The physical store is where the master copies of all software media are stored. This tends to be software that has been provided from an external source.
The logical store is the index of all software and releases, versions, etc. highlighting where the physical media can be located. The logical store may also be used for the storage of software developed within the organization.

SC&D procedures include the management of the software Configuration Items and their distribution and implementation into a production environment. This will involve the definition of a release programme suitable for the organization, the definition of how version control will be implemented, and the procedures surrounding how software will be built, released and audited.

Release Management Overview

Mission Statement
Implement changes to IT services taking a holistic (people, process, technology) view which considers all aspects of a change including planning, designing, building, testing, training, communications and deployment activities.

Process Goal
Achieve the process mission by implementing:
• ITIL-aligned Release Management policies, processes and procedures
• Collaboration with those organizations outside of IT that impact IT services to plan and ensure impacted stakeholders are involved and that the service is appropriately tested (from a customer’s perspective) following implementation
• Dedicated Release Manager
• Actions for planned Releases to analyze impacts and, wherever possible, coordinate efforts (such as packaging Release Units)
• A set of standard repositories for maintaining all authorized versions of software (Definitive Software Library – DSL)
• A set of recognized storage locations for spare parts and other hardware (Definitive Hardware Stores – DHS)

Critical Success Factors (CSFs)
The Critical Success Factors (CSFs) are:
• Producing Operable Solutions
• Controlling Releases Into Production
• Implementing Releases Into Production On Time

Key Activities
The key activities for this process are:
• Conduct release planning
• Coordinate design, building and configuring of releases
• Coordinate release acceptance
• Conduct rollout planning
• Coordinate release communications, preparations and training activities
• Coordinate distribution and installation of releases
• Provide management information about Release Management quality and operations

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Examples of Key Process Performance Indicators (KPIs) are shown in the list below. Each one is mapped to a Critical Success Factor (CSF).

Producing Operable Solutions

• Number of implementations bypassing Change Management
• Number of implementations utilizing non-standard components
• Number of implementations utilizing non-licensed components
• Number of implementations non-authorized
• Number of incidents caused by releases
• Number of failed Releases

Controlling Releases Into Production

• Number of Releases implemented without a corresponding RFC
• Number of urgent releases
• Number of releases implemented but not adequately tested
• Number of releases implemented without operational assurance

Implementing Releases Into Production On Time

• Number of Releases implemented
• Number of Releases implemented late

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