An incremental roll out strategy is one of the most effective ways to manage risk as you deploy new functionality. Consider these common options when formulating your release strategy:
Release the application, or a subset of features, to a small subset of users. This limits the potential impact of unknown issues and allows live feedback which may help uncover invalid assumptions made in testing. Once the release has been validated with the pilot group, it is incrementally released to more users.
First release “read-only” features, such as reports, as a way of getting quick feedback without deploying the full application, or with the “write” features hidden. This technique can also be used to validate a complex data migration.
If the new application is replacing a legacy system, it’s possible to run the new application and the old one in parallel. Once the new system is validated turn off the old one. This makes falling back to the old system easy. Keep in mind: This requires work to be done twice and can therefore only be used in certain circumstances.
Key Insight: Use small, frequent releases
No matter how much teams prepare, there’s always the risk that a stakeholder will have a need that wasn't discovered, or a user will perform a scenario that wasn't tested. When releasing a large batch of functionality to a large user base at once, smaller risks are aggregated together. Therefore, the larger the release, the more testing required and the more communication needed to facilitate with end users. It’s much safer and more efficient to release in smaller batches, more frequently and to fewer people at once.
With the application technically ready to release, stakeholders prepared to receive it and plan in place, it’s time to release the application and deliver value.
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