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  1. #1
    SQA Council
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    Release Plan Tips \'n Tricks (Sorta)

    User Tim Gerrells (tim@intellocity.com.nospam) posted:

    Release plans have been around at least since the late seventies, in the Big
    Iron world at least, and are still "the norm" in the UNIX distributed world.
    Normally the "release manager" is a part of a group separate from
    development and test, often part of CM. Sometimes they are responsible for
    the installation program, more often than not they don't do that. A major
    focus is making sure that products that run on multiple platforms are
    correctly built and the media (tape, CD-Rom, etc.) are correctly formatted
    and structured/organized to a) include everything needed for that platform
    and b) in the correct format for that platform.

    Was deputy chief assistant release manager (aka "head flunky) once upon a
    time for a company that released to 17 platforms the same several million
    line code base. Small developer tweaks in two lines of code could, and
    occasionally did, cause significant ripples and regression install testing
    for all 17 platforms. Not to mention the CM/build manager's gray hair.

    In current company, since we are small and lean, as QA Manager I also wear
    the CM Manager and Release Manager hats. Looks pretty funny in the mirror.
    We support Win32, Linux Redhat 6.x+, Solaris 7 and Solaris 8, plus four
    proprietary embedded platforms. Fortunately I don't have to worry about 7
    byte Word sizes vs 8 byte Words in this place!

    Following are random tips/tricks and notes for release procedures in our bag
    of tricks:

    UNIX/LINUX Checks:
    1. Ensure binary mode engaged when ftp'ing from UNIX to Windows box.

    2. For tar files, include in distribution docs the numeric value generated
    from both sum and chksum commands, to permit verifying binary file integrity
    at end user installation. Syntax is # [sum|chksum] [filename] and sample

    # sum ui-1.0-all.tar
    # 59376 7985 ui-1.0-all.tar

    # cksum ui-1.0-all.tar
    # 2822101982 4088320 ui-1.0-all.tar

    3. Ensure virus check performed even on tarballs. Newest Winzip application
    installations add .tar extensions as part of "zip" family of files.

    4. For incremental informal releases sent via email attachment file
    transfers, be aware of possible corrupt attachments. Certain UNIX-based mail
    exchange servers as well as Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5 have been known to
    have their virus checking software configured to capture .zip family of file
    extensions (including and sometimes corrupting .tar files). They check it
    and re-attach it to the mail message without appropriate file header or
    terminating characters.


    Release Tasks for [project X]:


    1. Design CD directory structure and file list.

    2. Draft installation instructions.

    3. Figure out what needs to be installed on the server and what settings
    must be made.

    4. Extract changes from the [product X] Server manuals pencilled in by [lead
    Dev], and document them.

    5. Draft release notes: outline and then fill it in.
    What it is. Version and revision date.

    Section: What's in the release notes.

    Section: Known problems or work arounds.

    Section: List of files/directories -> prob. point to bill of materials
    sep. doc, since files list is large, c. 3830 files.

    6. Draft defect report.

    7. Include completed test plan.

    8. Include a test summary report:

    What was tested: high level.

    What was not tested: high level.

    Existing anomalies.

    Known workarounds.

    Extant defects found.

    Test environment description.

    9. Once CD structure's populated, then verify and virus check.

    OTHER RELEASE NOTES ITEMS http://sunfreeware.com/programlistsparc8.html#gzip


    Also, verify build code base expected by development actually was the one
    retrieved from SourceSafe, compiled and linked.


    Another template Release Management Checklist:

    Release Management Checklist


    The following items must be complete before Release Management can
    prepare a release:
    System Test has been completed; there are no outstanding Sev
    1 issues.
    Release Notes from QA
    Installation Notes from QA
    Packing List delivered by Development and verified by QA
    The method to be used for delivery, contact for delivery to,
    content and method of product and media for the deliverable has been
    determined and documented in the Work Plan

    As the steps are completed, check off and insert the date completed.
    __________ Approved Deliverable (build, document, url, etc.) has
    been received from
    QA-System Test
    __________ Release Notes have been compiled
    __________ Installation Notes have been received from QA
    __________ Approval has been received from Project Owner for
    creation/release of
    __________ Create release of product as described in work plan. If
    creating a CD is
    involved, refer to the Releasing a CD job aid
    Things to consider in release of product: what is the deliverable?
    A build - is it a tar or zip, full build or select files? Is it a url? Is
    it a web site - is that installable or is it only a url being delivered.
    Are we hosting in house or delivering hardware included with the product?
    All these ideas need to be captured and managed too as we go.
    __________ Product and its supporting documentation are archived
    and stored

    Release Management Deliverables

    The following items are delivered by System Test
    Released Product as described by the Work Plan
    Archived copy of Product in storage
    Completed Release Management Checklist

    Releasing a CD Job Aid

    Procedures to follow when burning a CD to be delivered to a customer.
    File format to use to ensure compatibility with Win/Linux/Unix. Need info
    for this one!!!

    Item 1
    Item 2


    Not rocket science for the most part: just due diligence and a bit of
    discipline. Release manager also tracks/inventories master copies of
    released versions of software and ensures (directly or via IT department's
    backup/archive plan) software masters are stored correctly onsite and


  2. #2
    SQA Council
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
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    Re: Release Plan Tips \'n Tricks (Sorta)

    User MArk B. (mkbutler@russellmellon.com.nospam) posted:

    I couldn't read all that Tim. (I read "main frame" and my head got all
    fogged in.) Sorry if this is a repeat.

    An important part of a Release plan is the rollback. If it all goes to H E
    double toothpicks then you'll need a recovery plan.

    MArk B.

    "Tim Gerrells" <tim@intellocity.com> wrote in message




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