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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Processes of the last few days and weeks of a product release schedule ..

As part of a normal product cycle, the last few days and weeks are the ending points of all the hard work, frustration and rewards of the schedule. It is a critical time period in the schedule with the following properties:
- The team is doing their final set of testing / verification. Towards this end, the entire set of test plans and cases would not be running since that may take up more time than is available. For shorter time periods and for quick verification that everything is running fine, a subset of the test cases would be made ready to execute. If automation is made available, then these should be running on a regular basis.
- Any changes to code or defects fixes are being monitored very closely and thoroughly to ensure that there is no risk from these changes to the code. In some cases, when time in the schedule is short, only defects that are deemed very high severity will be fixed and that too when the impact of the changes can be safely evaluated
- All the release documents including the Help file and release notes are all ready and reviewed
-  External testers / pre-release testers have been using the software for some time and all of them have verified that they have been using the product and a majority of them have also deemed the software product ready for release. This can be critical. When the software is near the release period, people not belonging to the team and who are an approximation of the customer base of the product should be comfortable with the quality level of the product and the set of features in the product.
- In many cases, during the testing process, features that require connection to an online server are typically connected to a test or staging server rather than the live server. During the last few days, these connections are changed to the live server and the product is testing with those rather than with the staging server. There is a possibility that this kind of change may bring about some instability in the system and hence the changes need to happen before the release date (atleast a few days before the release date).
- When the product also needs to be released on DVD and on the product web store, there is a need to do final verification on such systems to ensure that everything is working fine (which includes generating actual DVD's and installing from them to ensure that everything works as it should).
- Defect stats are monitored very finely to ensure that there are no surprises at that end.

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