By Dan Radak
You might have heard about Enterprise Release Management (ERM), but you’re not quite sure what it is, or even if it could benefit you. After all, you have a startup – a far cry from a huge enterprise. But even startups can take some key points from enterprise release management and use them to their advantage. ERM is, to put it simply, a framework that allows big enterprises to manage changes in software and releases of new software in an organized and efficient manner. Sounds good, right? Today, even smaller companies usually deal with a complex, interconnected software system – the API back-end, the front-end, and the iOS and Android apps are the norm. Managing all the cogs involved in the creation of every one of these parts is no mean feat, and quality release management tools can prove to be invaluable.
Superior Time and Human Resource Management
Think of Enterprise Release Management just like project management, but on a much larger scale. Essentially, instead of one piece of software, several projects are in balance. In situations like these, it is extremely difficult to control all of the moving parts involved. Several developers are working on different aspects of the project at the same time – many of which depend on one another – and every single one of them has their own tempo, projected finish date, and their own set of problems. Some of the problems are expected, others difficult to anticipate. In essence, enterprise release management helps the person in charge create a timeline for every stakeholder, so that they can prepare for potential delays. For instance, if one part of the project is taking longer than the other ones, it’s crucial to know this information in advance – particularly if other aspects depend on it. By removing the element of surprise, the manager can assign tasks to other stakeholders, so that they don’t waste their time and sit idly by, waiting for the delay to resolve. Startup founders are always on the lookout for ways to save time, and ERM works great for that.
The controlled release process ensured by ERM brings about a significant lowering of risk. Not only are all processes streamlined in pursuit of a shorter release cycle, the perfect synchronization between the many variables is a guarantee for consistency of quality. Continuity is definitely one of the tenets of quality software. In this day and age, it is almost unthinkable, and certainly costly for a service to experience downtime. The competition is so stiff, there is no other choice but to aim for consistent excellence. Of course, success depends largely on the focus and flow of your team. However, testing, roll-out and, if need be, roll-back are much quicker and more reliable with a trusty ERM system in place.
Transparency in Action
Communication in any team is key – but the plot thickens once there are several teams that each have their own assignments but still need to be on the same page. For instance, very often managers face the need to improve software testing communication. Now imagine a multifaceted project, with several teams involved. Communication glitches are very likely to arise. Luckily, enterprise release management minimizes any chance of these communication breaks by providing complete transparency. Since every stakeholder has access to the entire projected timeline, they are all up to date with the progress of the other teams or individual stakeholders involved. Any project that is not strictly a one-man show can certainly benefit from open and transparent communication.
While a startup might not have as many moving parts, and certainly faces less communication and orchestration problems than a huge company, it can still improve its efficiency greatly by employing these methods. After all, organization boosts productivity, and productivity cuts costs and, eventually, increases profit.
Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is a coauthor on several websites and regular contributor to BizzMark Blog. Currently, he is working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.