Release Portfolio Management: A Closer Look

Managing complex release trains with ElectricFlow

With all the complexities involved, managing enterprise releases is no easy task. Releases are not always a simple linear pipeline moving applications across environments. They often entail a detailed hierarchy of multiple release trains – with interdependencies – owned by different teams, pushing separate applications.  Managing and visualizing these releases is challenging without the right solution.

The Challenge of Enterprise Releases

Managing enterprise releases involves coordinating activities across multiple teams and environments, keeping track of a myriad of dependencies, and monitoring the status of everything. Many organizations are trying to use last-century tools to manage their releases: Excel spreadsheets, emails and chat, time-consuming meetings, or release management tools that don’t provide automation.  There is no way to model how releases are related to each other or to automate dependency enforcement.  Instead, teams must rely on emails and large meetings to ensure dependencies are enforced. Once the release is started, they don’t have real time visibility to track progress of all of the related sub-releases.

The difficulty of keeping up with all of the disparate tools and activities means teams often end up working from outdated documentation, or worse, see tasks slipping due to delays, faulty processes, or miscommunications.

Model complex release hierarchies with dependencies in ElectricFlow

ElectricFlow can model and control enterprise releases that have nested hierarchies and complex dependencies.  Releases or pipelines can trigger sub-releases, with the ability to model multiple level hierarchies of nested releases. Triggers and dependencies can be configured anywhere, with configuration options to provide the ultimate in flexibility.

Dependencies can be set at any point in the pipeline to wait for sub-releases to complete before the parent release continues.  These wait dependencies can be set to wait for entire sub-pipelines to complete or be set to wait for specific stages or gates.  At runtime, all of the dependencies are automatically enforced, so the need for manual intervention or checks is significantly reduced.

Unprecedented visibility with the Release Portfolio View

The Release Portfolio View provides a bird’s eye view of the entire hierarchy of releases.  While authoring, this view provides clear understanding of the connections and dependencies between releases, even down to specific stages in each of the release pipelines.

At runtime, watch the release progress live with updates at the stage level – color coding indicates whether the stage is active, completed successfully or has failures.

At runtime, as releases are in progress, this top down view gives detailed insight into the status of the release hierarchy, with live status on each pipeline down to the stage level – showing whether the stage is actively running, completed successfully, or has failed.   This visibility down to the stage level status provides detailed information for each release right from the Portfolio View, so you don’t have to click and open each release to know how it is progressing through the stages.

Drill down into dependency details to identify delays

Stages waiting for dependencies are highlighted and you can drill down into the details to see a list of dependencies the release is waiting for. This visibility allows you to easily identify any inefficiencies or bottlenecks in the process and quickly take appropriate action.

Release Portfolio with Dependencies

Drill down to see release dependencies and their status

The Release Portfolio View in ElectricFlow simplifies modeling and managing even the most complex release hierarchy.

Before ElectricFlow:

Spreadsheets, emails, old style release management tools

  • No way to model or view how releases depend on each other
    • No automated enforcement of release dependencies
    • Must rely on emails and meetings to ensure dependencies are enforced
  • No real time visibility to track progress of all the related releases

With ElectricFlow:

Model, visualize, and enforce release dependencies automatically with ElectricFlow

  • Model multiple levels of nested hierarchies of Releases and Pipelines, define templates for reuse
    • Automatically trigger release dependency tree
    • Automatically wait for dependent releases, stages – or even tasks – to complete for fine grained control of the path to production
  • Release Portfolio View provides live, runtime progress of all release hierarchies
    • Understand status and delays
    • Gain visibility to the stage level
    • Drill down into dependencies

Check out the demo video to see the Release Portfolio View in Action:

Tim Johnson

Tim Johnson

Tim is product marketing manager at Electric Cloud and focuses on the impact DevOps has on the people and the organizations adopting it.He has over 15 years product marketing experience with industry leaders like BMC Software, Cisco, Google, and SurfControl.He holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine and is a Scoutmaster and wood turner in his "spare" time.
Tim Johnson

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