Get organised: four steps to the ideal deployment plan

One of the biggest mistakes that most IT teams make is having a lack of diligent processes that lead to rushing and scrambling at the last minute.When this happens, it’s likely a sign that team members are probably going to miss important steps.

In order to ensure smooth deployment, a step-by-step process for bringing a project’s final stage into production is a necessity.This is called a deployment plan.

In general, deployment refers to moving an object to a place where some action can be performed on it. In the case of software development, deployment means making an application ready for delivery. Deployment planning, on the other hand, is a process that takes even the most minor details into consideration.

It’s important to check whether the product is intact and bug-free, and to ensure there will be a smooth customer experience.The deployment plan needs to be first created by the release manager. Once this is complete, it’s important that the team working on this release are able to review the plan before its deployment.

Then, within the plan, a schedule is needed that allots time for each activity that is related to the release. Using this, the release team will be able to gain insight into the process by referring to the deployment planning framework.

When it comes to the organisation as a whole, each company has a vision of what they want their work culture to become.

The majority of these companies understand that creating a deployment plan will benefit the company immensely. However, not all of them put in the work to develop a sustainable approach for the betterment of the business.

Nor do all companies know the four most important things to consider before making a deployment plan:

1. Accommodate to the needs of software, hardware, and employees

Software and hardware needs are two of the most important things to consider before organisations start deployment planning.

Adding to this, it’s essential to know how many members of the team are able to accomplish prescribed tasks within the stipulated time frame. The release manager also needs to take into account which team member is doing what.

They should have a clear idea of who’s involved, the skill sets required, and the dedication level needed. The team needs to upgrade the software in a timely manner and keep the licenses up to date as well.

Apart from that, the team members involved also have to accommodate any hardware requirements prior to deployment planning.

2. There’s no “I” in team

Deployment planning is not a one person task, nor can the individual review everything on their own. As there will be many people involved throughout the deployment phase, it makes sense to include during the deployment planning too.

Most organisations tend to keep the experts in the loop and leave out the newest team members. However, that’s a mistake that is often made.

While experience holds a lot of value, new team members have brand-new skill sets and innovative ideas. Even if everyone is working as a team, allocate a specific role to each employee. By sharing the workload evenly during deployment planning, it’s more likely to be successful.

3. Abide by the Q x A = E Rule

For those experienced in business process management, you may have heard about following the secret formula in change management. What is it exactly? In the Q x A = E rule, ‘Q’ stands for technical quality, ‘A’ stands for cultural acceptance, and ‘E’ stands for effectiveness.

While it might just seem like a maths formula, it actually works. This is the perfect combination of technical quality and cultural acceptance which can help a company succeed in deployment planning.

The release team needs to put their heads together to make the product technically sound and innovative. As many of the end users may not be techies, everything should be kept simple. It’s also important to maintain optimum product quality, as this will help the project team to successfully plan a deployment.

4. Get the deployment approach right

Once organisations have followed the steps above, it’s time to take into account the deployment approach. Firstly, think about why you want sustainable performance for the company.

The release manager needs to ask themselves: “How will it lead to the improvement of the business?” and “Where do I want to see the company in the future?”

Needless to say, the release manager then needs to plan out the steps to achieve this target. This also bears reference to how they should begin creating their plan.

There are two approaches to starting the deployment plan. The first approach involves rolling out the entire deployment plan at once. Training for beginners and experienced staff alike takes place alongside each other.

The second approach restricts the new plan to a small section of the business. For example, the organisation might have a dedicated department to carry out deployments.

The first method offers greater sustainability since no teams or their members are treated with favouritism. On the other hand, in the second approach, the department responsible might not get support from other areas of the business. Therefore, even if it’s less risky, this method isn’t sustainable.

By simply considering these four steps when putting together the deployment plan, release managers will realise that they will make their life easier in the long term, before the organisational project is underway. While it may seem like a lot of work to think about in the short term, following these steps will help the release manager with their deployment approach and ability to plan correctly with reduced chances of multiple changes.

Writen by Jeff Keyes, VP of Product at Plutora


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