Hope you enjoyed reading our articles on various activities of SCM.
Today, I am going to continue to talk about Software Release and Deployment process which we have covered in our last article.
We have discussed about the basics of software release and deployments. Every project team has their different way of handling it.
There is no issue if the release and deployment process are effectively implemented but missing out a simple step can lead to big trouble where you need to scratch your head to find out very small mistake.
Just to avoid all these challenges, here i am presenting Software Release & Deployment Best Practices which will help you to stabilize your project and use the process effectively.
Gain Visibility of the Project: The first very basic and mandatory of software release & deployment best practices is to know about your requirement and your system, which includes End to End workflow.
This comprises to understanding the requirement, release planning, development structure, build tools and structure, deployment tools and strategy, all sort of testing (project, release, sprint, uat, live) and of-course the good understanding of target systems.
Choose and configure the best software and tools: To make a efficient and stable project, always take an extra time for choosing and implementing the best software/tools for Version Control System, Build and Deployment.
A dedicated build and deployment server with good server specs and hardware always resultant to a quick and stable outcomes.
Always use the Version Control Systems for all the files: Its not just about the code, always use the VCS for requirement analysis documents, project documents, store the build and deployment scripts as well. This is one of most important software release & deployment best practices
Establish a regular release cycle: Plan out when to deploy the major release and how frequent you want to send minor releases.
It could be once in a week or once in a month as well which needs to be decided and agreed by all the stack-holders in order to provide best service to the customer.
Create a Change plan and follow it: Its a good practice to create a change plan in which release manager mentions all the activities.
Following the change plan after getting all the approvals for every release will help in tracking and reviewing the release time to time.
Automate and systematize as much as you can: Automation helps you to do repetitive tasks without using much resources in terms of both man power and hardware.
Systematizing the process will ensures that your automation’s inputs and outputs are consistent every time. These are helpful to save time, cost, efforts and provides efficient results.
Control and Secure Your Release Artifacts: This is one of the most important best practice in Software release process.
As mentioned before, always keep your project/release artifacts in a secure repository which will helps to redeploy any earlier release in case of any issue and failure with the current release.
Distribute the software in phases: Its a nice to have approach, where you can deliver the software in phases rather than delivering everything in one attempt.
This approach would be helpful when you are unsure about the consequences or when you are deploying the full release for the first time.
Don’ jump into Production directly: Its a very uncommon but inadvisable when people just deploy the same build which proven to be success on Dev environment with just unit/smoke testing.
Always make sure you follow the proper life cycle and get the build passed from all the mandatory environments with all the testing to ensure that the build is error free and working as expected.
Ready Roll back plan: Prepare a roll back plan just to ensure the customers will be intact if the latest build is faulty or not working with live data.
Rolling back is never be an easy task but you should make sure that you have all the relevant information, build, dependencies, configuration data, etc with you just in case you have to roll back to the previous version of build and components when the latest build not working as expected.
Test the build thoroughly: The build should be passed through all the tests including unit, smoke, release, integration, UAT, performance, stress and load testing (as applicable), just to make sure that the build which is going on live environment is doing the same work which was mentioned in requirement analysis document and working as expected. **
Document the changes: Its another a good practice to document everything so that references can be taken from it before planning for any new change and also to train the team which is an essential activity.
If you keep documenting all the stuff you would never loose a control from the release plan and that will helps you to answer/justify some of the weird queries as well.
** For more detail about the Software Testing process, please visit our testing site “Quick Software Testing” which will surely provide you a great insight about the software testing.
I hope you now get comprehensive idea about Software release and deployment process and i would be glad if it helps you in anyway.
I’ll soon come up with the new article on Continuous Integration. Till then, keep questing…