Release management template

Successful software development and deployments take careful planning. A release management template streamlines the process, outlining five stages that your team can follow again and again.

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No matter what type of software release you’re deploying—from building and launching a new feature to delivering an update—there’s a lot for you (and your team) to do. Between planning and scoping the project, tracking due dates and project progress, and actually building and deploying the product, the software release process can get complicated quickly. 

A release management template simplifies the process by breaking it down into five sequential stages: planning, building, testing, preparing, and deploying. By providing your team with a reusable process blueprint, this template helps streamline and control software deployment, so your team can build and roll out the product—one task at a time. 

What is release management?

Release management is a project management technique used to manage, plan, control, and streamline the software development and deployment process. Commonly used by software developers and DevOps teams, release management involves breaking down the development process into five stages. The process helps teams improve the speed of deployment, cut down on miscommunication, and reduce errors. 

The five stages of release management are planning, building, testing, preparing, and deploying. Successful release management helps streamline the software deployment process and increases the likelihood of a smooth deployment. 

What is a release management template?

A release management template is a reusable framework that outlines the stages and steps in the release management process. By providing a reusable blueprint for software deployment, this template streamlines the process and cuts down on upfront work—so your team can jump in and get started. 

Once you’ve created a baseline template, you can copy and reuse it across all software deployments, ensuring everyone follows the same release management steps. That way, you can feel confident everyone on your team follows the same process, no matter who is working on the project or when the deployment takes place. 

With a digital release management template, you can: 

  • Create a step-by-step outline of your release management plan that you can reuse across all software deployments. 

  • Improve the speed and efficiency of your software launches, increasing the likelihood of a successful release. 

  • Align team members on all process steps and assign tasks, so everyone knows what they’re responsible for and by when. 

  • Manage every step of your software deployment process—from planning to production—in one place, so you never miss a step.

  • Reduce potential issues by mapping out your entire release management process in advance.

  • Use dependencies to quickly see what tasks rely on each other and catch scheduling errors before they impact your deployment. 

  • Use milestones to track where you are in the release management process and ensure you launch on time. 

  • Take advantage of custom tags to track each task's start and end dates and keep an eye on project progress. 

What to include in a release management template

Since your release management template serves as a framework for all your software deployments, you should structure it with all  the phases and steps in your deployment process. 

To begin, break down your template into the five stages of the release management lifecycle. Once you’re ready to use the template to manage an actual software deployment, you can copy it and customize it with tasks for your specific launch.

The five stages you should include in your template are: 

  • Planning: During the release planning phase, you’ll map out your release schedule, determine the project scope, allocate resources, and identify any dependencies or potential roadblocks. Tasks in the planning stage might include holding a project kick-off meeting and creating a work breakdown structure.  

  • Building: The release building phase is when your team builds the software in a production environment. In the building section of your release management template, you’ll create actionable tasks for your build and development to-dos and assign them to project team members. 

  • Testing: In the testing phase, your project team tests the software to identify and resolve any bugs. Your testing phase might include tasks such as running end user acceptance testing, identifying software defects, and performing regression testing.

  • Preparing: The release preparing phase is the last stage before the software deployment. In this phase, your team makes the final changes and optimizations to the software. Tasks might include solving software bugs and performing a final QA. 

  • Deploying: Deployment management is the final stage of the process. In this stage, you deploy the software in a live environment and perform additional testing to ensure the live software performs as intended. Tasks for this phase include deploying the software, testing it in a live environment, and improving functionality. 

Taking advantage of Asana’s features and synced apps helps you streamline cross-team collaboration and keep the project on track. Once you've structured your release management template into five phases, you can use custom tags and integrated features to track essential information, such as start and end dates, required duration, task owner, dependencies, and milestones. 

Integrated features

  1. Automation. Automate manual work so your team spends less time on the busy work and more time on the tasks you hired them for. Rules in Asana function on a basis of triggers and actions—essentially “when X happens, do Y.” Use Rules to automatically assign work, adjust due dates, set custom fields, notify stakeholders, and more. From ad hoc automations to entire workflows, Rules gives your team time back for skilled and strategic work.

  2. Milestones. Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal. 

  3. Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

  4. Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well. 

Recommended apps

  1. Microsoft Teams. With the Microsoft Teams + Asana integration, you can search for and share the information you need without leaving Teams. Easily connect your Teams conversations to actionable items in Asana. Plus, create, assign, and view tasks during a Teams Meeting without needing to switch to your browser.

  2. GitHub. Automatically sync GitHub pull request status updates to Asana tasks. Track progress on pull requests and improve cross-functional collaboration between technical and non-technical teams, all from within Asana.

  3. Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

  4. Lucidchart. The Lucidchart + Asana integration seamlessly embeds diagrams, flowcharts, process maps, and wireframes into your Asana project. Important project context lives right where you need it: in Asana. Teams can have easy access to all the right information as they work—without switching between different applications.

FAQs

What is a release management template?

A release management template is a reusable resource that outlines the stages and steps of the software deployment process, or the process by which a team manages and controls software development and deployment. 

What are the benefits of a release management template?

Software deployment and release is a complex process. An effective release management template simplifies it for your team by acting as a reusable roadmap for the entire process, from planning through development, testing, and rollout. 

Who should use a release management template?

Any team that develops software, manages new releases, or rolls out new features should take advantage of a release management template. Commonly, software developers and DevOps teams use release management templates.

What should you include in your release management template?

Your template should include the five stages of the release management lifecycle: planning, building, testing, preparing, and deploying. Once you’ve created your basic template, you can copy it and customize it with tasks and information for a specific deployment.

What’s the difference between release management and change management?

Release management and change management might sound similar, but they’re very different processes. Release management is specific to a project—it’s the process of planning and implementing a software deployment. Change management is broader—it’s the process of planning for and managing organizational changes. If you want to learn more about the change management process, check out our change management plan template.

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