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Deploying Change and Release Management Successfully

Best practices

Over the last few years, increased reliance on IT systems has meant that Change and Release Management has made its way to the forefront of major organizations. However, as far as the end-user base goes, Change and Release can sink into the subconscious as a simple-to-use to-do list, which often conceals the complex processes performed by IT staff. Unfortunately, good Change and Release Management isn't that simple and most projects that support it can only be implemented with difficulty. If business users knew the reality of what goes on when they report a computer error, their perception may be very different. Their opinion also could help make processes better in the future and seeing how the technology works may alter perceptions of Change and Release Management being a walk in the park.

To achieve this illusion of simplicity means paying particular attention to the best practices that exist around implementing Change and Release Management. These have been designed to guarantee the success of any project. Before starting a project, it is important to be equipped with a reliable set of guidelines and tools known for their ability to meet widely varying needs. Against this background, it's important not to start with a blank page and instead make use of a "road map" that helps the IT team concentrate on the essentials they need to deliver. Using a best practice reference ensures no key points are forgotten when it comes to the project's implementation.

There are original initiatives arising from co-operation between companies wishing to supply operational documentary resources. Skill and communication is obviously a major requirement for success but now it's also important to think about the next stage. This means considering what will make projects successful post implementation: mobility, social IT and intelligent reporting are all features that may need to be built in.

The first ingredient in the recipe for success around any Change and Release implementation is to ensure the involvement and contribution of the various stakeholders at each stage of the process. A project methodology should be both versatile in approach and open to continued improvement. This helps generate user satisfaction more quickly while avoiding a "tunnel" situation as this can often lead to restrictions in functionality.

If these are not recognized and dealt with, what started as an effective approach to Change and Release can become both inoperative and ineffective. Taking an agile approach means listening to the business and making time to go through the problems that are being encountered. Complications can come out of the woodwork at any stage of the project. Regular communication with the business will help get to the root causes of problems and meet needs that may not have been identified previously. Finally, it is important to choose a solution that can be adapted to the processes deployed, while giving priority to good practice and simplicity.

By taking account of these various elements, Change and Release Management can be transformed into a real operational success and provide a pragmatic response to the company's needs. The company can then improve its quality of service and operational performance levels.

More Stories By David Hurwitz

David Hurwitz, SVP, Serena Software, began his career as a software engineer for legendary Silicon Valley company ASK Computer Systems, the pioneering enterprise applications company. He has spent the 25 years since around enterprise IT, helping businesses benefit from it and IT leaders be more effective at it. Hurwitz holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His senior project applied animated simulation to industrial robotics for more effective manufacturing results.

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