Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thoughts on Release & Deployment Management

A friend of mine, Carlos Nogueira, wrote a great article on some of the best practices that should be applied on release and deployment processes.

It was very interesting to read, especially considering he works with non-Microsoft technologies and tools, that the challenges on the "other side of the fence" are exactly the same, something we sometimes forget.

This has been one of my focal points (...)

This has been one of my focal points since I've started leading the SharePoint development area in my company and an area I really enjoy.

My thoughts and highlights from the article:
  • "Understand legacy processes": this is something where our human nature can play a trick on us. Just because we believe we have found the holy grail of automation, it doesn't mean it will always work. It is a cliché, I know, but there's no silver bullet. So reviewing the current process, and building on it, is a big step in the right direction. It also allows us to more easily follow an iterative approach: see where the current strategy is weaker and where the biggest gains would come from and start from there!
  •  "Identify key collaborators": whenever we talk about release and deployment management, there's always an human element, there's only so much you can automate and then it's up to the quality of the people involved in the process. So keep them close, and happy!
  • "Form your release infrastructure": make sure you have the right tools to get where you want the process to be. Once again, build upon what you have and establish clear prerequisites for each of your improvement stages.
  • "Automate, standardize and upgrade": automation is king. Work in an iterative fashion because continuous feedback and improvement is key to success (have I said that?). A note on standards: it is as important to have them documented/defined, as it is to have a way to validate they're being applied, in as close to real time as possible. If someone was making mistakes last month and you're only finding it out today, it may mean there's 4 weeks of sub-optimal work done by that person. And we all know how hard it is to fix things that didn't start off on the right foot.
You can read the full article here. Enjoy!

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