Owning the Distribution of Release Notes

The release notes are written by the development/testing teams, but who should be distributing them out to users?

Same team who have written the release notes? Release/Change Management teams? OR should it be the Service Operations helpdesk?

I was lucky to be a part of this interesting discussion recently and summarizing the important points in this article. Before providing a view on this matter from an ITIL perspective, I am putting a couple of points to also be considered:

1. Distributing Release Notes, in itself, is not the best way to inform users about the changes. There are other ways, including integrating this information within the application so that the users are informed of the changes, when and where they need to know it. This aspect needs to be kept in mind, before going down the old road of creating and distributing the release notes.

2. In several organizations, there are teams (ex: customer communications) who could be made accountable for this task.

Finding the answer from ITIL Framework

To derive the answer to our original question, we must first decide whether the Release Notes constitute to be a part of the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). In most scenarios, Release Notes itself will be an important part of IT systems and hence need to be tracked and controlled.

Now, as evident from ITIL framework, all CMDB items are under Change control and hence need to go through the Change Management process and executed under Release Management’s authority.

Conflict between Practical World and ITIL?

Some of us might have experienced that a Release Manager is not best suited to distribute the Release Notes, esp. when the Release Team is not completely responsible in Build/configuration of the code. In such cases, ITIL ‘s suggestion looks to be conflicting, but it’s NOT.

RACI coming into the picture

Even in such cases, the Release Manager should be accountable for and overseeing the distribution, but the underlying responsibility might continue to sit with the Dev/Build Manager.

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The original article/video can be found at Owning the Distribution of Release Notes

About the Author: Shannon Lewis

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