ITIL Release and Deployment Management

Within the Service Transition stage of the ITIL Service Lifecycle we find the process of Release and Deployment Management. This process constitutes what most folks tend to think of when it comes to transitioning services into a live operational environment. This is where organizations plan, schedule and control the builds, tests, and releases as they transition their services into operations.

The Definitive Media Library (DML) forms the basis for the Release and Deployment Management processes. The DML is a secure library where the final versions of CIs are stored and protected. The DML also houses the master copies of all controlled software within an organization. The DML should be segmented providing for several software libraries that are maintained separately from the development, test and live file storage. This is where your release packages live prior to transitioning to the live environment according to your release plans and schedules.

The Release and Deployment Management process can be segmented into four phases: R&D Planning, Release Build & Test, Deployment and Review & Close. The Release & Deployment planning phase is where an organization should compile their plans to release and deploy their service/software. In this stage, the change management team authorizes both the plan and the creation of a release.

The Release Build & Test phase is where the Release Package is built, tested, and checked into the DML. Meticulous records of different builds must be documented within the DML to maintain governance over the release and deployment process. Again, the change management team is responsible for authorizing the release to be built and tested. This process is intimately related to the change management process due to the nature of making these authorized changes to new/operational services. It’s imperative that the change management team is kept in the loop.

As we move into the Deployment phase, the Release Package is deployed into live operation. At this stage, the change management team authorizes its deployment into one or more target environments prior to handing the package over to the Service Operations.

Once the Release Package is deployed into the live environment, organizations need to review the experience and feedback of the service to compare to the performance targets/achievements outlined in the R&D Planning phase. This where an organization learns from its operations to streamline operation and service delivery. Organizations should constantly evaluate and reevaluate their efforts to maintain continuous service improvement processes. It’s at this stage that most organizations can develop their knowledge base and make suggestions for changes/improvements for the change management to review prior to the cycle repeating itself. In this way, an organization should constantly be growing in terms of the lessons learned throughout the Release & Deployment Management Process.