Coordination: the Key to Successful Releases

Release Management imageIn a very unscientific survey of more than 60 release management customers over the past 18 months, the winner in the “Largest Gantt Chart” award came in at 2.5 meters wide (8’ 2”) by 1.5 meters tall (4’11”) with over 90 “deployment tracks” covering the 68 hours of the “go live deployment weekend” or “GLDW.” One whole track was devoted to catering and it was on the critical path. More than 400 people are involved in the GLDW from noon on Friday until 8:00 am on Monday morning. This happens four times a year and many of the 400 employees spend at least one, sometimes two, nights sleeping at their desks.

Releases have become, for many organizations, more complicated than NASA space launches. And, just like John Glen, you too are now “sitting on top of two million parts … all built by the lowest bidder.” The complexity of releases today is vast when you consider the requirement to deploy software to multiple platforms and geographies. What’s more, that software comes in a myriad of technologies (many of which you have no visibility into and little control over), is developed from a variety of methodologies, and is managed across countless organizations. For many of us, managing this means spreadsheets and project plans, endless meetings and a deluge of email.

Today’s sophisticated, interdependent releases can only happen when you have the infrastructure that allows you complete visibility into the moving parts of the release and the tools that ensure coordinated movement through the lifecycle. At Serena, we have taken this need to the next level by developing the world’s first and leading Enterprise Release Management solution that spans your platforms, connects yours teams, manages your calendar and coordinates your deliverables. Working in concert with our proven Change and Configuration Management solutions on the Mainframe (ChangeMan ZMF) and on Open Systems and Windows (Dimensions CM), Serena Release Control not only gives you the flexibility you need to allow your teams to work in the way that best meets the business needs but also brings coordination and control to make sure they arrive at and depart from release milestones as expected.

By exploiting the open, web services-based architecture of our product set, Serena is able to manage your releases, even if you are using third party source-management solutions. We provide the upstream and downstream visibility needed by everyone from request-to-release and from Dev to Ops, including the ability to fully automate the deployment and handle exceptions.

So, if you are spending your next weekend in the office shepherding your next quarterly release, perhaps you should check the DevOps Drive-In Webcast series, past and upcoming.  What you learn might just be able to give you a good night’s sleep.


Kevin Parker is a 30 year industry veteran, holder of three technology patents and is VP and Chief Evangelist at Serena Software. He speaks and writes on application development methodologies, business analysis, quality assurance techniques, governance, open source issues, and tool interoperability, from the mainframe to distributed platforms to the web and mobile and embedded systems. Kevin was born and educated in the UK and currently lives on a boat on the San Francisco Bay.



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