Release Management

"Establishing Enterprise Release Management to Improve IT Change and Release Controls in a Major Transport Agency"

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In 2011, a large government transport agency was in the process of refreshing their rolling stock fleet as part of a new public private partnership agreement to improve the safety and comfort of their customers. The introduction of a new service provider into the existing IT operational landscape highlighted the need for formal and ongoing IT change and release controls. To address this, Kirk Penn from Service Management Specialists was brought in to design and implement an Enterprise Release Management (ERM) program. The goal of the ERM program was to establish a structured release framework, allowing IT-related enhancements and maintenance changes to be implemented with minimal disruption to the business.

The transport agency had over 450 applications split across six portfolio groups, each operating in isolation from one another and using an on-demand response approach. The business often implemented high-risk changes within very short delivery time frames. The intent of the release management program was to combine all changes into releases, enabling a comprehensive level of testing to be undertaken. Kirk assisted in preparing an initial ERM business case, articulating the value of the initiative to Senior ICT Management. Once approved, he created the overarching ERM Framework, including the ERM policy and interim tool set solution. Kirk also designed and built the ERM process documentation, led the organisational change initiatives and ICT roadshows, and educated the business on the reasons for introducing releases.

Kirk established the enterprise release manager role and assisted with establishing release coordinators within each of the application portfolio groups. The ERM program was well-received by the business and the ICT executive. Due to its success, the ICT Executive sponsored other operationally-focused improvement initiatives, such as environment management and configuration management, and encouraged the establishment of the service delivery practice group. The ERM framework is now a well-embedded service management capability, introducing a new level of application change control to reduce the amount of system outages to the business.