How to improve the deployment process with release management best practices

10 min readNov 21, 2023

Developing a software product, especially on a large scale, is not a one-time process. It involves continuous improvement of existing features and the addition of new ones in subsequent releases.

In this context, efficient release management is vital in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). It ensures timely product delivery to the market, workload optimization for team members, and the meeting of deadlines.

To establish a smooth release management process, you must understand the nuances of software development and be on the same page with the client regarding the project’s goals.

If you want your project to be predictably effective, it is imperative to set up an adequate release management process.

Importance of release management in software projects

A release introduces a new product, service, or features to customers, offering them enhanced value. Often, it resolves issues, makes improvements, and includes software changes. This event is significant for both development teams and the target audience.

Effective release management helps teams plan their work and visualize the result. For customers, it provides enhanced product quality and new value.

A well-prepared release isn’t just about technical updates — it’s a chance for your team to provide users with a fresh experience, improve user interactions, and guarantee quality.

In such a way, the release management may include improving the website, training support teams, updating marketing materials, and other processes that ensure a seamless product launch.

How effective release management enhances the software delivery process

Effective release management enhances the software delivery process through:

Thorough planning. Competent release management ensures that software is delivered on schedule and meets customer expectations. This means that new features and modifications are deployed when users need them.

Quality assurance. Testing and QA are essential parts of the release management process. They help to identify issues before they reach users and minimize the risk of bugs in production.

Risk mitigation. Version control and rollback options are in place for mitigating unforeseen issues during deployment. The risk mitigation strategy developed by release managers enables rapid recovery from unexpected problems.

Collaboration. Communication and cooperation between development, operations, and other teams result in a cohesive deployment process. Effective release management fosters a culture of teamwork, where all stakeholders work together to ensure a successful product launch.

Customer satisfaction. Efficient release management ensures that software updates align with growing customer needs. This timely delivery enhances customer satisfaction and increases their loyalty to the product.

Looking to enhance user experience? Manage releases wisely.

Planning for successful deployments

Release planning is the foundation of a successful deployment. It involves a detailed roadmap that outlines the tasks, timeline, resources, and goals for the release. Proper planning enables teams to set clear expectations, allocate responsibilities, and establish milestones. It’s essential that everyone involved understands the scope of the release to prevent last-minute changes.

Five steps to develop a goal-oriented release plan

There are five essential steps to create a release plan that aligns with project goals and timelines:

  1. Define objectives. Understand what you are trying to achieve by introducing changes in a software product. Are you going to fix bugs, improve UX, or extend functional opportunities? Setting clear goals will help you choose the right tools and methods for releasing a new version of a software product.
  2. Evaluate scope. Assess the scope of the work to be done and prioritize features. Determine what can realistically be achieved within the given timeline. Choose tasks that are of the greatest value for stakeholders and can be effectively handled by the team.
  3. Allocate resources. Allocate the resources needed for the release. This includes human, technological, and time resources. Ensure that all team members understand their roles and responsibilities to handle software changes.
  4. Set milestones. Establish checkpoints to track progress and ensure the release stays on track. Set efficient release management to help the team progressively move across milestones. Make sure that tasks do not interrupt each other and do not block the work of different specialists.
  5. Assess risks. Identify potential risks and develop mitigation strategies. Consider dependencies, such as third-party integrations or external factors that could impact the release. An actionable plan in case something goes wrong is a crucial part of the release management lifecycle.
Release plan example

Version сontrol and source code management

Version control systems (VCS) are crucial for maintaining code integrity and tracking changes. They allow teams to manage product versions, collaborate effectively, and roll back to previous states if issues arise during deployment.

Integrating source code management into the release flow

There are best practices to effectively manage the source code as a part of the release management process:

Branching strategy. Create separate project branches in a version control system, such as Git. You can create feature branching, release branching, hotfix branches, etc.

Code reviews. Regular code reviews by peers ensure code does what it intends to do and is written clearly. You can run manual or automatic code reviews depending on the project sources and deadlines. You can also order code review as a service if you don’t have available human resources in your in-house team.

Automated testing. Automated testing helps quickly identify logic-related issues and allows the detection of critical bugs. Autotesting is implemented by writing testing scripts. But you can also use codeless test automation tools to make the QA process faster and more affordable.

Commit messages. Encourage meaningful commit messages that describe the purpose of code changes. Such messages enhance understanding of the codebase and make team collaboration more efficient.

Continuous integration. As a part of continuous integration practices, you can automate build, test, and deployment processes across staging and production environments. You can set up a smooth development lifecycle where each project phase automatically transitions to the next.

Continuous testing and quality assurance

Continuous testing is crucial for release management because it helps identify issues and bugs early in the development process. By automating tests and integrating them throughout the SDLC, you can provide timely feedback to developers and allow them to fix bugs before they become big problems.

Continuous testing best practices for superior release management flow

Continuous testing ensures bug-free releases within established deadlines. Here are five best practices to consider:

Early start. Test the product from the very beginning of its implementation. Create automated unit tests alongside the code writing. Test quickly and fix issues immediately to minimize technical debt.

Automatic regression testing. Implement regression tests for existing functionality to ensure new code changes do not introduce unexpected issues. These tests should be executed automatically whenever a code change takes place. Thus, you can catch regressions quickly.

Comprehensive test coverage. Develop a diverse suite of automated tests, including unit tests, integration tests, functional tests, and acceptance tests. This will ensure that different aspects of the software are thoroughly tested and increase the likelihood of catching various types of issues.

Tests parallelization. As the test suite grows, parallelize the test execution and distribute tests across multiple machines or environments. This will reduce the test execution time and allow faster issue identification.

Continuous feedback loop. Establish a feedback mechanism that allows software stakeholders to quickly communicate issues and collaborate on solutions. To implement this, you should use appropriate communication channels, regular team meetings, issue tracking systems, peer reviews, project documentation, etc.

Need a quality code base for your project? Test product along with its development

Configuration management

Configuration management ensures that the deployment environment, including software and hardware, is consistent and matches the intended state. A well-managed configuration in release management allows for

  • reproducibility of deployments
  • project changes tracking
  • consistency across project environments

Best practices for managing configuration changes during the software release

Effective configuration management best practices include:

Version сontrol. Use version control systems to track configuration changes and roll back to previous configurations if necessary. For example, you can commit changes to a shared Git repository. Each commit will have a new version of the configuration and allow developers to track changes easily.

Automation. Automate configuration management to reduce human error and enforce consistency. Use tools like Ansible, Puppet, or Docker to automate the deployment and configuration of software components. Develop automated scripts to provision servers, install dependencies, and configure applications.

Documentation. Maintain detailed documentation of configurations, changes, and dependencies to ensure clarity. This will help you run the project effectively even when development teams change.

Environment management. Maintain separate environments (development, testing, staging, production) to simulate real-world scenarios with the software. Make sure to create a testing environment that mirrors the production environment’s configuration, including server settings, databases, and third-party integrations. This will help QA engineers test the software under conditions similar to the actual deployment environment.

Change approval. Implement a change approval process to control configuration changes. When a developer proposes a change to the production server configuration, direct the change request through a formal review process. Document the changes done and verify they align with project requirements.

Risk assessment

Risk assessment is essential in understanding potential challenges that may arise during deployment. Risk assessment in release management process flow helps

  • prepare for the unexpected
  • create contingency plan
  • communicate with stakeholders effectively

Best practices for managing potential deployment risks

Effective risk assessment and contingency planning involve the following best practices:

Risk identification. Start assessing risk by identifying potential issues. Understand code conflicts, infrastructure limitations, and third-party dependencies that may prevent the software from functioning correctly.

Risks prioritization. Prioritize risks based on their potential impact and likelihood of occurrence. Adjust mitigation strategy to eliminate the most dangerous threats on a first-priority basis.

Elimination strategies. Develop strategies to mitigate identified risks. Include fallback plans, test scenarios, and recovery mechanisms.

Contingency planning. Create contingency plans with step-by-step instructions to address specific risks as they occur.

Regular reviews. Continuously review and update risk assessments and contingency plans to adapt to changing project conditions.

Сontingency plan example

Stakeholder communication and collaboration

A successful release management process cannot exist without the effective collaboration of stakeholders. If all the involved persons are on the same page about what needs to be done, the software is released with planned features and minimum interruptions.

How effective stakeholder communication enhances release management

According to a recent survey, 28% of employees believe poor communication is the primary cause of missed deadlines and failed releases. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that stakeholders are able to collaborate and communicate effectively. Effective communication ensures:

Alignment of objectives. Effective communication ensures that all stakeholders, including developers, project managers, business analysts, and end-users, understand the goals for the release.

Issue resolution. Collaboration allows teams to address challenges that may arise during the deployment process. Whether it’s identifying compatibility issues, resolving configuration problems, or handling last-minute adjustments, a collaborative approach enhances issue resolution.

Transparency. Transparent communication builds trust among teams and stakeholders. When everyone is kept informed and has access to relevant information, it fosters a culture of shared responsibility. Transparent communication enables stakeholders to make informed decisions and adjustments as needed.

Best practices for involving relevant teams in the deployment process

Cross-functional teams. Unlike traditional teams, where members come from the same department or specialization, cross-functional teams bring diverse skills and expertise to collaborate on complex projects.

Regular meetings. Periodic meetings keep everyone informed of progress, changes, and potential risks. This can include daily stand-ups, weekly reviews, or milestone checkpoints.

Collaborative tools. Project management platforms and shared workspaces facilitate efficient collaboration. These tools streamline the exchange of information, making it accessible to all relevant parties.

Post-deployment monitoring in release management

The release management process extends beyond deployment into the post-deployment phase. This involves monitoring the effect of implemented changes and gathering user feedback.

How to collect feedback from users to improve release management

User feedback helps understand the effect of the changes that were implemented and provides information to improve future deployments. The best practices for collecting user feedback include the utilization of:

Feedback channels. These can be in-app forms, surveys, or direct contact points for end-users. Convenient feedback channels encourage users to express their opinions, report issues, and make suggestions.

Feedback analysis. This allows teams to identify user behavior patterns, common issues, and areas that must be improved. Feedback categorization helps prioritize actions and create a to-do list for improvements.

Iterative enhancements. Based on user feedback, you can make iterative updates to the software. This will help you align software with growing user expectations and create a more refined product.


Release management in an enterprise or startup ensures that the planned updates are implemented according to specified requirements and within established deadlines. Efficient release management effectively allocates project resources and keeps teams motivated to deliver excellent results.

At Erbis, we’ve been successfully managing and releasing projects for 11 years. Our expertise spreads across industries and clients. We’ve delivered projects in domains such as proTech, healthTech, edTech, finTech, supply chain, logistics, and more. You can check the success stories of our clients here.

If you need help with managing projects and planning efficient releases, contact our experts. We’ll study your project and provide tailored release management services.


What is the difference between project management and release management?

Project management oversees the entire project lifecycle. This includes planning, execution, and completion of project tasks and goals. Release management focuses on coordinating software releases. It manages versioning and deployment processes to deliver new features and updates.

Can the project manager handle releases, or should I hire an independent release manager?

Whether you need to hire an independent release manager or have the project manager handle releases depends on the complexity of your projects. For smaller or less complex projects, a project manager can handle releases. For larger, more intricate projects, an independent release manager might be beneficial to ensure a specialized focus on versioning, deployment, and coordination across different stakeholders.

Do you offer release and project management services separately, or do I need to hire a full development team?

We offer both release and project management services separately, allowing you to choose the level of support you need. Additionally, we provide end-to-end product development services, giving you the option to hire a full development team for comprehensive support throughout your project.