Software Release Checklist For Applications: Things to include
Designing software is no easy feat, so it’s disheartening when the final product is full of bugs. This means that you must redo all the previous work, and everyone on the development and testing teams has to start from scratch. Every piece of software now necessitates updates and enhancements depending on user feedback. However, for optimum functionality, each version should be thoroughly tested.
One of the areas where a lack of software quality can have negative business consequences is deployment. You might have a software product that is doing well in the market and generating good revenue. Still, a software deployment failure can hurt the organization in many ways. You must first be aware that deployment is not “just a build” and involves many moving parts across the organization.
To avoid this stressful and costly scenario, software developers and testers should ask the right questions before releasing their products. This blog provides a list of questions you should ask, as well as an explanation of why each question is essential. Following this checklist before pushing any code to production will help ensure a high-quality final product.
Table Of Contents
- 1 The Purpose of the Software Release Checklist
- 2 Pre-Release Checklist Template:
- 3 Releasing Checklist Template:
- 4 Questions to consider before creating a software release checklist
- 5 Summary
The Purpose of the Software Release Checklist
The purpose of software release checklist is to provide a clear guide on “what you need to make sure of” and “how to do it” while releasing software. A release management checklist is a great way to ensure you hit all the critical points during software development. The checklist should include items for every stage of development, from product management to development to testing and final deployment.
Remember that this checklist is not entirely exhaustive. Every team and every project is different, so not every item will apply to every situation. The release management checklist is a starting point for more detailed conversations with your team.
The following checklist is for creating a software deployment plan that organizations can use to ensure they are doing the right things.
Pre-Release Checklist Template:
A product launch is the most critical event of the year for most businesses. And usually, product launches are hinged on several moving parts. From external factors like having a first-mover advantage and fending off competition to internal factors like having the right product components, there are a lot of elements to consider. In many cases, the key to a successful product launch is having a pre-plan that factors all these elements. But the company does little to prepare a Pre-Release Checklist Template for the plan.
This checklist will help limit any potential risks that could come up. Here’s what to remember:
– Only release a limited number of items at a time so you can keep track of everything more easily.
– Plan to release frequently, so your customers always have something new and exciting to look forward to.
– Make sure every feature is “done” before releasing, which means:
- All unit tests are written with proper code coverage.
- All automated functional tests are executed to validate new features and make sure old features don’t regress.
- All usability/accessibility testing is completed.
- Performance testing is carried out (this is especially important).
- The code is scanned for security vulnerabilities.
- Any technical debt is documented.
Releasing Checklist Template:
When considering a new release, we must ask ourselves a few key questions to ensure everything goes smoothly. This checklist provides a structured framework for streamlining the release planning process.
Before we deploy our code, we must ensure it’s checked into version control and tagged appropriately. We must also update our production configuration and ensure our code dependencies are deployed in production.
We also need to test our application’s scalability under heavy load. This will help us identify any potential issues that could arise during deployment.
Also, check the following:
- Do we have any feature toggles configured for Canary or A/B testing?
- Have we considered access control for any applications that need it?
- Have we confirmed the availability of the observability information required to debug in production?
- Can we capture and analyze metrics, traces, and logs?
(Note: numerous commercial and open-source solutions are available to assist you in this space)
- Is there a contingency plan in place?
- If necessary, can the feature be turned off?
- If necessary, can we go back to the earlier code version?
- If the release goes wrong, can users work around issues?
By ensuring we’ve covered all of our bases before deployment, we can avoid any potential headaches with this Software Releasing Checklist Template.
Questions to consider before creating a software release checklist
Is the product viable?
Making perfect software that never has to be updated or changed is impossible. The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and every digital product must keep up with new user preferences, expectations, and competitive impacts.
The goal is to produce and release a viable product – helpful, something that can be released within the specified time frame and meets end-user needs significantly. End users are fully aware that software will invariably require changes over time.
The initial release will never be complete, but it must be functional. It must perform well enough to provide consumers with the primary functions they seek.
Make a Strategy.
Creating a deployment plan allows you to gather feedback from all parties. Once in place, the plan provides vital information and directions for the deployment.
At each level of deployment, plans may include both manual and automated testing. Risk assessments, checklists, roles, and contact information for each stakeholder play a part. All stakeholders should examine and endorse the proposal.
Is there a rollback plan?
How can a feature be fixed if it causes problems in production? Is it possible to turn off the feature? Will this necessitate another round of deployment? How long will it take if so? What will the feature’s downtime be as a result?
It is reasonable to anticipate that some problems will arise once end-users access the software. Have a system in place to handle points of failure swiftly and effectively. Without it, issue resolution becomes a time-consuming, labor-intensive procedure that wastes developers’ time and leads to an unpleasant user experience.
Include a rollback strategy in your testing plan to account for the possibility of failed deployments. Having a plan in place ahead of time will help you revert to the previous version of the program more quickly and reduce downtime.
Determine who is in charge of the rollback strategy and make sure they are available during the deployment. Create a method that can be quickly adapted to reduce downtime. Consider using feature flags to obtain more granular control over how each feature is deployed.
Is there enough documentation in place?
This question must be posed at the start of any software development project. However, it must also be included in the software release checklist.
Every project involves a diverse group of developers, testers, designers, and other stakeholders. All team members can’t be on the same page unless documentation is on all fronts. This applies to both manual and automated testing. Because the agile technique relies mainly on cooperation, accurate and adequate documentation is a make-or-break factor in each project.
However, the requirement for documentation does not end with the launching of a product. User feedback must be gathered for effect to be enhanced.
It turns out that documenting people is also essential:
- Do we have a list of critical technical contacts we can contact promptly if our release does not go as planned?
- Do we know which users will be impacted by our changes?
- Have we verified that our activated feature toggles include and exclude the correct people?
- Have we confirmed that access control includes and excludes the appropriate people?
- Have we arranged for somebody to help us demonstrate our release?
- Do we have engineers who assist throughout the process?
- Do we have enough people who should notice our modifications?
- Have we finished any other release preparations that could help our deployment?
Has the designer seen the final designs/release?
The UI/UX team should ensure the product design is complete, reviewed, and well-documented. The product design is one of the most critical aspects of the release. Suppose a feature has a high potential impact on end users. In that case, it should be thoroughly tested to ensure it is usable and meets performance expectations. Once completed, the UE team should review this new version in conjunction with the design document to determine whether or not any changes are needed before being released to production. Moreover, if there are bugs that were not detected during this process, they should be addressed before releasing the product.
What has been updated/changed in this release? To collect the information, the designer should carefully review the release notes. If there are new or revised features or any bugs that have been fixed that may impact users, the designer should log them onto a list. Finally, is the UE team satisfied with this release? The answer to this question would be determined after meeting with the team to discuss the release and how it’s impacting their current workflow/project-at-hand [maybe use a User Story].
Is the support team well-educated on the software being released?
In reality, a poorly equipped support crew may do a lot of damage to a brand’s and a product’s credibility.
To ensure everything is in line with the plan, follow up with these questions:
- Is the support team familiar with the program being released?
- Do they know what issues users are most likely to encounter?
- Are they aware of the software’s capabilities so they can manage user expectations?
- Can they provide the consumer with help documentation?
To ensure a successful release cycle, check if the support team is aware of any features that may confuse them. A skilled support team is essential for any software rollout. Customer-facing difficulties can be significantly decreased if the support team is adequately trained and understands how an application operates. Customers are rarely satisfied by generic responses.
Give them as much relevant information as possible to set them up for success. This will ensure a successful release cycle and save engineers and product managers from later dealing with repetitive questions.
To streamline the process and ensure that development teams and customers receive what they need with less effort, determine the nature of the software release cycle.
A software release checklist speeds up product delivery by ensuring that each release is tested for maximum viability via a dependable pipeline. Include the above questions in every release checklist to ensure that each release provides the most significant possible user experience.
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider (and remember!) when releasing a new software application. The key takeaway from this should be that the questions you should ask and the criteria you should use to judge each release are subjective. And, since every environment is unique, you will need to create your list of questions to ask.
But remember that any list of final criteria needs to encompass every aspect of a release—performance, security, and usability, foremost among them. Remember that it’s better to cover all the bases than to miss one. And before shipping out your software, ensure it meets your checklist’s requirements. Your users will thank you for it!
You don’t want to get through the entire project only to realize that you forgot to ask one of these questions. Which question do you think is the most important? Have you ever forgotten to ask one of these questions before releasing software? Let us know in the comments!