What Does A Release Manager Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Release Managers

Release Managers are responsible for managing the release management lifecycle of projects for a company. They typically work with every department to meet specific deadlines and goals.

Bachelor's degree

Without a Release Manager, some projects would spend an eternity in the development stage. Release Managers help keep projects on track by coordinating their releases.

Unlike a Project Manager, the Release Manager often oversees the development of multiple projects for an organization. They may manage the release of new applications, updates, patches, and security fixes.

Due to the scope of the job, working as a Release Manager can be stressful and challenging. Before pursuing this career, aspiring Release Managers should learn more about the responsibilities and steps needed to become one.

What they do

Release Managers are responsible for managing the release management lifecycle of projects for a company. They typically work with every department to meet specific deadlines and goals.

Coordinate the Release of Projects

Release Managers ensure that projects are released within certain timeframes. The schedule of the release may be influenced by a wide range of factors, including service request backlogs, third-party applications, or vendor requirements.

Release Managers do not directly manage the projects. They oversee projects and monitor their progress, requiring them to meet with the Project Lead or Manager of each release. The release may also need to be timed to specific events, such as an upcoming operating system update or application update.

Resolve Issues That May Impact the Release Schedule

Release Managers address issues that may impact the release schedule for projects to help keep everything on track. As Release Managers need to track the progress of each release, they are often aware of potential setbacks.

When an issue arises, they may need to divert resources from another project or delay work on a specific portion of the affected release. It is their job to determine the best strategy for resolving the issue. They also need to ensure that all relevant parties are aware of the delay, which may involve submitting a report to upper management, vendors, or clients.

Coordinate Work Between Multiple Departments and Teams

Some projects may depend on the release of other projects. For example, the planned release of an update to an application may need to wait until a security patch is released for the same application. It is the responsibility of the Release Manager to coordinate these dependencies.

Develop Reports on the Progress of Releases

Release Managers may be required to generate reports on the progress of releases. This may include weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports, depending on the size of the organization and the number of releases.

The report provides management with an overview of the schedule for each release. It includes notes on any issues that may result in delays. For example, a problem with the release of one project may impact the release of a dependent project.

The Release Manager is one of several liaisons between development teams and upper management. Release Managers keep upper management informed and pass on requests to the development teams.

Create Processes to Optimize the Release Schedule

The performance of a Release Manager is often based on their ability to improve release processes. They are tasked with optimizing the development stages to shorten the release window for new projects.

Release Managers may optimize the release schedule using a variety of tactics, from hiring additional IT staff to narrowing the focus of the release to provide faster updates. The strategies that the Release Manager employs are often limited by available resources. However, they often have the flexibility to assign and reassign teams and projects.

What is the job like


Sense of Accomplishment

Release Managers tend to feel a sense of accomplishment every time that a project is released within its release window, which results in greater job satisfaction.

You Will Likely Work in a Comfortable Setting

The comfort of the job environment is a perk that people often overlook. Release Managers work in comfortable office settings and may have their own office.

You Can Transition to Other Careers

Release Managers have the skills, knowledge, and experience to work in other areas of IT. If you grow bored of managing releases, you could look for related work in other industries.

You May Get to Help Improve Products

Release Managers often manage the release of updates and patches for applications currently used by other businesses. Improving these products to help others perform their jobs better can be rewarding.


Stressful and Demanding Work

Release Managers have a lot of responsibilities, which can make this job more stressful compared to other IT positions.

You Receive Blame for Delays

When a vendor or partner needs to wait for a delayed release, they often blame Release Managers, as they are typically the main point of contact.

Where they work

B2B Service Providers
Tech Companies
Government Agencies

Release Managers tend to work for large organizations in the business-to-business (B2B) service provider industry, designing apps and programs that support business functions. Release Managers may also work for software development companies. Some of the largest companies in the telecommunications industry also employ Release Managers. To a lesser extent, Release Managers may find work at state or Federal government agencies.

How to become one

Step 1: Study Computers and Math in High School

Release Managers typically start in the IT industry, which requires strong computer and math skills. High school students can prepare by taking computer and math classes and studying programming.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Release Managers often have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related field of study.

Step 3: Consider Earning a Master’s Degree

Earning a Master’s degree may reduce the work experience needed to become a Release Manager. Some employers may also prefer a Master’s degree, as it demonstrates an additional commitment to learning.

Step 4: Look for Work in the IT Field

Aspiring Release Managers often need to work their way up from the bottom, typically with entry-level jobs. Common starting jobs include Network Administrator, System Administrator, and Junior Software Developer.

Step 5: Gain Project Management Experience

Release Managers often need project management experience and experience working with DevOps Engineers. Look for job opportunities such as Project Manager or Project Lead.

Step 6: Expand Your Job Search

After gaining project management experience, begin looking for Release Manager positions. Individuals who do not find work in their chosen field immediately should continue taking on project management jobs.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Thinker

People with this personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

Above all other traits, Release Managers need excellent interpersonal skills to coordinate with a wide range of people, including management, workers, vendors, and clients. Release Managers should also possess good organizational skills due to the complexity of overseeing multiple releases. Analytical skills are necessary for dealing with the logistics of releasing multiple updates or fixes. Successful Release Managers also tend to have good leadership skills, as they oversee multiple IT teams.

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