The release manager is another pivotal ICT role for an organisation. The release manager is responsible for ensuring that a new release or version of ICT software or hardware occurs in a controlled and co-ordinated manner.
The release manager will work with numerous other ICT staff, in working with these professionals the release manager is ensuring the new release or version is delivered to the requirements of the organisation and within the service level agreement obligations that have been agreed to.
Once the requirements for the new release have been gathered the new release is built and then it is tested, the testing manager and key staff in the organisation will test the application to see that it meets the requirements that have been defined and that the new release fits with the current infrastructure. Part of the testing will also be devoted to ensuring that the changes made to the system do not have any adverse effects on the rest of the system, any other systems or the ICT infrastructure.
The release is then finalised for deployment to the live environment, just prior to the release being deployed to all users a final check is made so that all relevant stakeholders can verify that it is the correct release. The new release is then deployed to the end users.
Release Management ITIL definition: The process is responsible for planning, scheduling and controlling the movement of releases to test and live environments. The primary objective of release management is to ensure that the integrity of the live environment is protected and that the correct components are released.'
A release manager exhibits a combination of capabilities from the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), and the Queensland Public Service Leadership competencies for Queensland Framework.
Within the SFIA profile, the release manager has level 5 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Refer to the framework for descriptions of the seven levels of responsibility and accountability.
SFIA skill code
SFIA skill level of responsibility
SFIA skills level descriptor
Release and deployment
Leads the assessment, analysis, planning and design of release packages, including assessment of risk. Liaises with business and IT partners on release scheduling and communication of progress. Conducts post release reviews. Ensures release processes and procedures are applied and that releases can be rolled back as needed. Identifies, evaluates and manages the adoption of appropriate release and deployment tools, techniques and processes (including automation).
Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.
Evaluates new system software, reviews system software updates and identifies those that merit action. Ensures that system software is tailored to facilitate the achievement of service objectives. Plans the installation and testing of new versions of system software. Investigates and coordinates the resolution of potential and actual service problems. Ensures that operational documentation for system software is fit for purpose and current. Advises on the correct and effective use of system software.
Queensland Government roles align with the Leadership competencies for Queensland.
Leadership competencies for Queensland describes what highly effective, everyday leadership looks like in the sector. In simple, action-oriented language, it provides a common understanding of the foundations for success across all roles. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 11 leadership competencies required against five leadership streams.
Leadership streams are not connected to a level or classification, but rather reflect the balance between leadership and technical skills required of an individual. Individuals can consider the ‘value proposition’ of roles rather than the traditional lens of hierarchical structures or classification levels. The five leadership streams are:
- Individual contributor (Leads self and does not supervise others)
- Team leader (leads a team and typically reports to a program leader)
- Program leader (leads team leaders and/or multiple areas of work)
- Executive (leads program leaders or other executives)
- Chief executive (leads the organisation).
When developing a role description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
A degree level qualification in information technology or information systems is the minimum requirement to work in this capacity.
Specific certification in release management can be obtained through completing ITIL competencies.
Learning and development
There are a number of ways to develop and improve release management skills. Formal training of release management with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (industry best practice) and on the job experience are important ways to improve and develop the required skills.
 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Leadership competencies for Queensland framework plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms. The competencies can be utilised in talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. The competences can be accessed here Leadership competencies for Queensland