SOFTWARE AND SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT 8.4 DEPLOYMENT STAGE
The deployment stage is an essential phase in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) where the fully developed and tested software is made available to end-users. This stage occurs after the software has passed through the testing phase and has been deemed ready for release. The primary goal of the deployment stage is to ensure that the software is installed, configured, and operational in the target environment.
The deployment stage typically involves the following activities:
Preparation: Before deploying the software, necessary preparations are made, including procuring the required hardware, setting up the infrastructure, and ensuring that the target environment is ready to support the software. This stage may also involve creating user documentation and training materials to help users understand how to use the software effectively.
Deployment Planning: A detailed deployment plan is created, outlining the steps and sequence of activities necessary to deploy the software. This plan may include specific release dates, resource allocation, risk management, rollback strategies, and a communication plan for informing stakeholders of the deployment progress.
Deployment Execution: The software is installed and configured in the target environment following the deployment plan. This process may involve copying files, setting up databases, configuring servers, and adjusting network settings. The deployment process may be manual or automated, depending on the complexity and scale of the software.
Testing and Validation: After the software has been deployed, it undergoes a final round of testing, often called smoke testing or sanity testing, to ensure that it functions correctly in the target environment. This step is crucial for identifying any issues that may have arisen during the deployment process.
User Training: End-users are trained on how to use the software effectively. This training may include workshops, seminars, webinars, or online tutorials, depending on the organization's needs and the complexity of the software.
Monitoring and Maintenance: Once the software is deployed and in use, it needs to be monitored for performance, stability, and security. Regular maintenance, including updates, patches, and bug fixes, is performed to keep the software functioning smoothly and to address any issues that may arise.
Transition to Operations: The deployed software is transitioned to the operations team, responsible for managing, maintaining, and supporting the software in the production environment.
The deployment stage plays a vital role in ensuring that the developed software is effectively delivered to end-users and functions correctly in the intended environment. Successful deployment contributes to user satisfaction, adoption, and the overall success of the software project.
A good new system with poor change management can be a disaster, a poor new system with good change management can work well.
Change management as its name suggests involves managing the change of systems, and good change management is crucial in the developing of a good new system that works well and has the buy-in of all stakeholders.
This aspect of the deployment stage helps organisations effectively handle modifications, updates, or enhancements in the software while minimizing disruptions, risks, and negative impacts on end-users and stakeholders.
During the deployment stage, changes can occur due to various reasons, such as bug fixes, new feature additions, performance improvements, or adjustments to comply with changing regulations or requirements. The importance of change management during this stage lies in the following factors:
Minimizing disruptions: Proper change management processes ensure that software updates or modifications are introduced in a controlled and planned manner, minimizing disruptions to users and business operations.
Reducing risks: Change management involves assessing the potential risks and impacts of changes on the system, users, and stakeholders. By identifying and addressing these risks proactively, organizations can avoid costly errors or delays during deployment.
Ensuring quality and compliance: Change management processes help maintain the quality of the software and ensure that it remains compliant with industry standards, regulations, or internal policies by systematically tracking, documenting, and verifying changes.
Streamlined communication: Effective change management includes clear communication channels between development, operations, and other stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is aware of the changes being made, their rationale, and the expected outcomes.
Improved user acceptance: Change management helps manage user expectations and facilitate the smooth adoption of software changes by providing relevant information, training, and support to end-users.
Facilitating rollback: In case of unforeseen issues or failed deployments, change management processes provide a clear rollback strategy to revert the system to a previous stable state, minimizing downtime and negative impacts.
Continuous improvement: Change management supports continuous improvement by fostering a culture of learning and adaptation, encouraging teams to identify areas for improvement, and integrating user feedback into future development cycles.
Effective change management during the deployment stage of the SDLC is crucial for minimizing disruptions, reducing risks, ensuring quality and compliance, and facilitating the smooth adoption of software changes. By incorporating change management practices into the deployment process, organisations can increase the likelihood of successful software rollouts and maximize the value of their software investments.
Change management should eb considered in all stages of the design lifecycle. With a great system but poor change management at any stage the system will often fail, this is frequently seen in companies as the change from one system to the next and blame the system for the failure rather than address the change management process.