Release management is an integral part of the part of the system/software development life cycle. Release management is the process of creating and verifying the final release product or service to be rolled out to the user groups. There are three types of releases that are worked through release management: major releases, involving new features and enhancements; minor releases involving minor enhancements and defect repairs; and patch releases involving critical and major defect repairs. Release management has emerged as a management discipline that draws on elements of project management, requirements management, configuration management, software quality assurance, quality control and IT architecture.
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The release manager organises, directs, and manages activities for building and maintaining software releases for their promotion to the production environment. The release manager may manage large multidiscipline teams in a matrix management organisation, as well as direct reports. The release manager determines the required skill sets and organises the manpower needed to implement the release. As the head of the release team, the release manager provides technical support to software developers and business unit personnel in executing and managing test processes and establishing the environments used to conduct testing of the final deliverables. The release manager directs activities to ensure the software products meet quality standards and performance objectives within defined time and budget targets.
Education and Experience
Release managers will typically possess a bachelor's degree with course work in computer science, information systems and business management. Companies typically identify and select individuals for the release management position who have project management experience, who have worked with change management and configuration management processes, who possess expertise in quality assurance and quality control, and who may have experience as an application/software developer. Candidates for the release manager position will require experience working with and managing the cross-impacts of multiple corporate subsidiaries, divisions and departments; from business analysts, subject matter experts to application developers, configuration management analysts, IT architects and testers.
The release manager organises and coordinates release teams across organizational boundaries. Specifically, the candidate must possess a strong technical background in information technology management; strong process knowledge of System Development Life Cycles; experience with automated configuration management/code management systems such as Endeavor, PVCS, CVS, ClearCase or Visual SourceSafe; strong program and project management skills; demonstratable experience with program languages and program scripts such as SQL, HTML, SQL Server, C++, Visual Basic, Microsoft Active Server Pages; strong knowledge of testing and defect tracking tools such as HP Quality Center; and excellent presentation and communication skills.
In May 2010, Payscale.com reported release management total pay in the 25th percentile at £45,136 and total pay in the 75th percentile at £62,054. Pay reported included annual salaries ranging from $ 66,536 to $ 89,831. A variety of industries hiring individuals for this position include insurance companies, health care supply and equipment firms, financial services, information service firms, and colleges and universities.
Release management has been an information technology management activity for some time. However, since about 2005, release management has emerged as a distinct management function, facilitating the release of products and services into production. The 2010 job market looks promising for release management opportunities. As of 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not classify release manager as an occupation. Instead, release managers are often counted as computer and information systems managers. According to the BLS, this occupational category is expected to have greater than average growth, meaning that computer and information systems manager jobs are expected to grow by 20 per cent or more to 2018.
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