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Release management: adapting to changing business needs

Organizations come to Habanero’s portal management and sustainment team to make sure their employees get the most out of their intranet. Based on our years of experience building and supporting a wide variety of portal solutions, we see intranet success as the result of three key areas: support and maintenance, release management, and portal management.

The three areas are connected. That’s why it’s best to visualize portal management, release management, and support and maintenance in a pyramid.

For more information on portal management, see my colleague Ellisa Calder’s post.

What is release management?

Release management is there to ensure your portal is adapting to changes within your organization quickly and cost effectively. It’s a system that exists to make sure the portal stays relevant to the needs of users.

The term “releases” refers to any series of changes or upgrades made to your portal.

Release cycles and implementation details

Setting a regular release cycle and creating a budget up front is the key because it provides predictability and transparency in delivery timeframes, costs, and support requirements to business owners. 

Release cycles also ensure each release to production will be planned and managed using the standard System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) and will include all the necessary changes required to support business initiatives efficiently and in a timely manner.

Also, we break down the releases into phases and milestones (i.e., requirements freeze, scope freeze, feature complete, stabilization, code cut-off). This gives the release management team a clear map of where we are heading from both the release and release cycle perspective. Clear planning also helps anticipate any slowdowns or changes that could impact an upcoming release. 

The above graph shows scheduled releases for a portal over the course of a fiscal year.

Implementation details vary from client to client, but we have helped many organizations create and manage their release cycles for upcoming fiscal years based on their portal roadmap and strategies. Portal roadmaps include annual objectives for user adoption, new features, and supporting existing functionalities.

Benefits of release management

Release management provides an integrated and transparent view to all participating parties of the features being delivered, the budget for each release, and the release schedules in both the short and long run. It also ensures successful and stable production deployment by being able to start planning for resources, system integrations, and change management from the outset. 

When paired with portal management and support and maintenance, release management is the key to delivering new business requirements to your portal in an efficient and predictable way. 

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