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Major launches need an engineering “Release Captain” independent of a Project Manager.

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While a Project Manager can and should be in charge of things like cross-functional coordination, burndown charts, and other gory process details, they are ill-equipped to oversee the launch from an engineering perspective. This talk covers what makes a good Release Captain including topics like:

  • How to think about rollout stages:
    • Do you need a percentage ramp-up?
    • Over what cadence?
    • Cross-platform rollout considerations
    • Go/no-go conditions and health checks
  • Rollback strategy planning
  • Environment planning for sustained QA
  • Cross-functional dependencies like help content and customer service traffic
  • Delegation and aggregation.

The Release Captain can’t do everything, but they can aggregate and review what feature owners produce in order to make sure the aggregated launch will be successful.