After the Release Readiness Review meeting is complete, the minutes-taker circulates detailed minutes to all team members, including lessons-learned documents, with a deadline for review and comments. Team members review these minutes and, where appropriate, send comments back to the team lead.

To access templates online, see Operations Templates.

Once the go/no-go decision has been reached, the team leader communicates the decision, including any requisite committed action items, to all stakeholders. These stakeholders include the members of the review team and representatives of the customer/user community. This communication should include:

  • The final decision (go or no-go).
  • If the release is go, confirm the completion of any adjustments and the finalized rollout plan.
  • If the release is no-go, describe in detail the reasons why, along with the next steps (such as plans for adjustments, new date, and so forth).

The review team leader selects the mode(s) of communication that is most effective to that organization and customer/user communities, such as e-mail, face-to-face meetings, or telephone calls.

To allow all stakeholders the opportunity to plan ahead, the team lead communicates the decision well in advance of the deployment date(s). (Rollout may encompass multiple deployments, especially if multiple sites are involved.) Or in the case of a no-go choice, the lead communicates the decision as soon as the decision is finalized. In the case of a go decision, the communication includes, at a minimum, a summary of:

  • The changes being made, why, and when.
  • The risks involved, and what is being done to mitigate them.
  • The recipient's role in making the change happen, such as user acceptance testing.

It is generally considered a best practice to send out two versions of the communication: one for users and customers, and another for IT personnel. This way the communication can be tailored to the targeted audience to ensure effective communication. A sample e-mail communication to IT personnel is provided online at Operations Templates.

The team lead is also responsible for coordinating the completion of any action items resulting from the Release Readiness Review meeting. This includes deciding how to proceed if action items are not completed on time or do not meet the agreed-upon completion criteria.

Next Steps

If the Release Readiness Review produces a go decision, the release moves to rollout planning and preparations before the actual deployment begins. Otherwise, the deployment is postponed until the necessary improvements or adjustments take place, or it is canceled. At this point, ownership of the release is transferred from the development and test teams to the release team as it enters the Changing Quadrant of the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF) Process Model. For more information on rollout planning, preparations, and deployment, refer to the MOF Release Management Service Management Function guide at the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF).