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Release Management (ITIL 4)

Parent Process Reference Framework: ITIL 4

Service Value Stream Activities

Highly impacted Service Value System(SVS) Activities:

  • Design and Transition


The purpose of the release management practice is to make new and changed services and features available for use.

Release: A version of a service or other configuration item, or a collection of configuration items, that is made available for use.

A release may comprise many different infrastructure and application components that work together to deliver new or changed functionality. It may also include documentation, training (for users or IT staff), updated processes or tools, and any other components that are required. Each component of a release may be developed by the service provider or procured from a third party and integrated by the service provider.

Releases can range in size from the very small, involving just one minor changed feature, to the very large, involving many components that deliver a completely new service. In either case, a release plan will specify the exact combination of new and changed components to be made available, and the timing for their release.

A release schedule is used to document the timing for releases. This schedule should be negotiated and agreed with customers and other stakeholders. A release post-implementation review enables learning and improvement, and helps to ensure that customers are satisfied.

In some environments, almost all of the release management work takes place before deployment, with plans in place as to exactly which components will be deployed in a particular release. The deployment then makes the new functionality available.

In a DevOps environment, release management is often integrated with the continuous integration and continuous delivery toolchain. The tools of release management may be the responsibility of a dedicated person, but decisions about the release can be made by the development team. In a more traditional environment, releases are enabled by the deployment of the components. Each release is described by a release record on an ITSM tool. Release records are linked to CIs and change records to maintain information about the release.

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