The first knowledge hub on release management – interview of the creators

Last month we discovered Electric Cloud, a Californian company specialized in Continuous Delivery.
They did a great job creating a wiki gathering every tools and companies involved in IT auotmation, from infrastructure configuration management to continuous depolyment.

As we praised this intiative, and not only because Rudder is included in the configuration management section, we were curious to know more about the project.
We asked Gilad Maayan from Electric Cloud to tell us why and how they built this knowledge hub.

Why create such a wiki?

“The field of release management and deployment is of paramount importance to organizations, and there is more and more information out there on tools and techniques, best practices, methodologies and real life case studies. Electric Cloud is a vendor in this space, and we have a strong commitment to community initiatives and “grass roots” activity in technology spaces. We saw that while so many are writing about release management (ourselves included), the field is so complex and there is no single resource that “maps out” what is out there. There was a need to bring together the relevant resources and give them context.

So we set out to create a wiki-based knowledge hub that would collect all the relevant information on release management from around the world, and organize it in a meaningful structure, to help the community understand and learn this important discipline. We call it the Release Management Wiki:

A vendor agnostic project.

“While we did write a bit of content ourselves to give a general context, most of the wiki is links to specific pages on other sites that can teach you something about release management. Our idea was that there are numerous experts, practitioners and vendors focused on each sub-topic of release management, and they are the best sources to learn from. Our resource is completely vendor agnostic – we have included our numerous vendors equally along our own information (all product-oriented content is marked as “vendor information”), together with content from bloggers, news sites and other community sources.”

How it was made?

“We spent 6 months building this resource – the first stage was researching the space and building a tree of 141 sub-topics of release management – release automation, agile practices, ITIL/ITSM concepts, deployment, release planning, tools and more. Then we collected over 27,000 web pages that cover these subjects, and built a team of editors who hand-picked the most relevant ones for each category. We went beyond just categorizing the pages into specific release management topics – within each category we broke up the resources into “content types” such as how-to, case studies, real life examples, vendor information, tool comparisons, and so on.

Here is an example of one in-depth page, about configuration management: Configuration Management page

The final result is our Release Management Wiki covering thousands of relevant resources across all aspects of release management and deployment. After launching the site, we reached out to the owners of content listed on our wiki to let them review and comment on their listings, and suggest other pages or categories for the site. We’ve received an overwhelmingly positive response and very useful feedback, from individual tech bloggers, news sites, vendors and even large organizations who had contributed information on release management on their websites, such as NASA, Intel, IBM and HP.”

What to expect from it?

“We plan to continue building and expanding the wiki to make it the world’s central resource on release management. Our objective is to be the first destination for anyone wanting to learn and evolve in this growing field, even if they are not directly relevant to Electric Cloud’s product offering. By offering this service to the community, we are positioning Electric Cloud as a company that extends a “helping hand” to anyone doing interesting stuff in release management. Of course we also hope that those visitors of our site who are in need of release management tools will become aware of our ElectricFlow product suite for software delivery automation and release management.”

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