From ITIL Release Management to DevOps: Making Sense of the Space
As more organizations are moving from traditional waterfall and ITIL processes to newer agile development pipelines driven by automation and managed by modern DevOps teams, QA teams need to align with these changes. The shift to DevOps is driving a change in how organizations handle release management – internal processes and are no longer governed only by the ITIL Release and Deployment Management process, and individual testing and the test-at-the-end approach are being replaced by Continuous Delivery pipelines and TDD.
Even for QA teams that are accustomed to Continuous Integration processes and tools, the shift to the fast-paced world of agile and DevOps has its challenges. QA teams are forced to deal with questions such as: How do we align our tasks and processes with the CI and DevOps cycles? Which tools should be used for test automation? Should we automate all the tests and tasks, or should some processes stay manual? How can we collaborate better with other team members and with Ops? How do we give and receive fast feedback and continuously improve our systems and processes?
To begin to answer these questions, QA teams must plan and understand the shift from CI to continuous testing, which entails a major cultural change and the ability to gain new areas of expertise relatively quickly. And while more and more courses can be found online, unlike the official ITIL certifications, DevOps training is still based on online courses and tools-specific certifications. QA professionals resorting to the Internet to find solutions, techniques and best practices might find it even more challenging to make sense of the space and to single out information specific to the unique challenges experienced by QA.
The team at Electric Cloud – maker of ElectricFlow, a DevOps release automation platform – took on a project to make the world of release management, agile, and DevOps more accessible. They built the Release Management Wiki – the first knowledge hub that collects all the relevant information on release management from around the world, and organizes it in a meaningful structure:
The wiki started with an intensive 6-month research project – the first stage was building a tree of over 141 sub-topics of release management – release and deployment automation, agile practices, DevOps and Continuous Delivery, ITIL/ITSM concepts, release planning, tools and more.
The team at Electric Cloud collected over 27,000 web pages that cover these subjects, hand-picked the most relevant ones for each category, and divided them into “content types” such as How To, Case Studies, Real Life Examples, Vendor Information, Product Comparisons, and so on.
The final result is our Release Management Wiki covering thousands of relevant resources across all aspects of release management and deployment.
A central realization behind the wiki is that the field is so complex and there is no single resource that "maps out" what is out there. There was a need to bring together the relevant resources and give them context. We're quite sure this community resource can save a lot of time and help many professionals in our industry become much more familiar with release management and agile practices.
Sam Fell is the Head of Marketing at Electric Cloud, responsible for driving awareness and demand for our DevOps Release Automation and Acceleration solutions. For 20 years, Sam has helped companies achieve success with DevOps Release Automation, IT Change Management and Application Performance Management solutions. Prior to joining Electric Cloud, Sam held leadership roles at BMC, CA, Marimba and Nimsoft.
Sam holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Illinois Wesleyan University.