Release Decision Process Guidelines


Quick Summary
Process that can be used near the end of a project to systematically review open issues and determine which ones must be corrected before release.


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What this is

Guidelines for typical processes that can be used near the end of a project to systematically review open issues and determine which ones must be corrected before the project deliverable(s) can be released and the project considered complete.


Why it's useful

Way too many project deliverables get released before they're truly ready. The customer needs it now! We have to release it now to make our revenue goals, or save money in IT, or release the building to its owner, or begin that new promotional campaign.

But if a project's main deliverables are released before they are truly ready, everyone will pay. The customer will have to live with a buggy product or system. The building may not be ready in every detail for occupancy. All groups may not be ready and willing to use the new business process. The team may not be truly ready to support the new marketing campaign. Whatever type of project you are on and whatever its deliverable, the team has the responsibility to make sure that it is truly ready for release to its ultimate customers.

This release decision process helps ensure that teams make a thorough evaluation and responsible release of the project's deliverables based on a thorough understanding of the their true state and readiness for release.

Using such a process also establishes a rhythm in the endgame process. It helps make the release date somewhat predictable by monitoring the rate of new issues still being found, the severity of those issues, and the rate at which they are being resolved. Such tracking can help the group see if they are truly converging on a final releasable deliverable, or if the number of issues is remaining constant or increasing. In short, the process helps demonstrate that you have management control over the endgame. This will keep upper management managing at their level instead of yours, and will reduce the risk of upper management stepping in and unilaterally making a premature release decision.


How to use it

Start this process when your project's main deliverables are reaching the stage that you are considering pre-release testing or evaluation at the system, product, or user level, as appropriate to your project's objectives. The types and applications of release processes included are:

  • Final project releases for technical deliverables, such as IT systems or applications,
  • Final releases for non-technical deliverables, e.g. written items such as literature for marketing promotional campaigns, and physical deliverables such as design/build packages to feed a new construction project.

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