Title: Release cycle management: an action research study into a software company

Authors: Kamran Syed; Neda Barqawi; Lars Mathiassen

Addresses: J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, 35 Broad Street, NW, Suite 427, GA 30303, Atlanta, USA ' J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, 35 Broad Street, NW, Suite 427, GA 30303, Atlanta, USA ' J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University, 35 Broad Street, NW, Suite 427, GA 30303, Atlanta, USA

Abstract: Software is increasingly developed in a recurrent fashion. Still, we lack theoretical knowledge and conceptual models for continuously improving software release management in such dynamic contexts. In response, we conducted an action research study to improve Software Inc.'s capability to recurrently release a specific software service, Secure-on-Request. Drawing on contextualist inquiry as theoretical frame, we addressed an initial problematic situation with a recent software acquisition, complexity of service delivery, new engineering and product management teams and low process maturity to improve the organisation's approach to software releases. As a result, we offer a detailed account of the process of, the content of and the context for transforming release management at Software Inc. through the phases of diagnosing, establishing, acting and learning. Based on these insights, we theorise release cycle management (RCM) as a key practice that integrates software process improvement into recurrent delivery of software. Moreover, we offer a conceptual model for RCM that software managers can use to implement such practices into their organisations.

Keywords: recurrent software development; release management; software process improvement; SPI; IDEAL cycle; contextualist inquiry.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2019.10018672

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2019 Vol.30 No.2, pp.152 - 176

Received: 11 Jun 2016
Accepted: 27 Apr 2017

Published online: 28 Jan 2019 *

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