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 have the opportunity to 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)
A release manager exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
Within the SFIA profile, the release manager has level 5 capabilities, i.e. ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.
Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.
Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.
Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.
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.
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 Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types:
- Individual contributor (manages self)
- Team leader (manages individuals)
- Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
- Executive (manages program managers)
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.
(a) ITIL – The Official Introduction to the 'ITIL Service Lifecycle
 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 Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth. The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. See http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf