"How often do you perform releases?"
Answer examples and tips for RFPs

Last updated by Brecht Carnewal Brecht Carnewal on 2023-08-04


The question "How often do you perform releases?" falls under the category of software operations. This question is seeking information about the frequency of software releases performed by the provider. It is important for the customer to understand the release cadence of the provider to assess their ability to deliver updates, bug fixes, and new features in a timely manner.

Here are three similar questions related to software operations:

  1. What is your release management process?
  2. How do you handle software updates and patches?
  3. Can you provide information about your change management practices?

Why is this asked?

The customer is asking this question to evaluate the provider's release practices and determine if they align with their own business requirements. The release frequency allows the customer to assess if the provider can keep up with their desired pace of updates and enhancements. Additionally, it helps the customer understand if the provider is proactive in addressing software issues and continuously improving their product.

The customer expects to gather the following information from the answer:

  • Frequency of software releases (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly)
  • Whether the provider follows a scheduled release cycle or releases on an ad-hoc basis
  • How the provider handles major and minor releases
  • Processes in place for bug fixes, patches, and security updates
  • Communication methods used to inform customers about upcoming releases and changes

Key information to include in your Answer

When addressing this question, it is beneficial to include the following information:

  1. Provide an overview of your release management process, including the steps involved from development to deployment.
  2. Mention the frequency of your software releases (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly) and explain the reasoning behind the chosen cadence.
  3. Describe how you handle major and minor releases, including any specific criteria or milestone-driven approaches.
  4. Highlight any version control or branching strategies used to manage different software versions.
  5. Explain how you address bug fixes, patches, and security updates, including response time and severity levels.
  6. Discuss the communication methods and channels through which you inform customers about upcoming releases, changes, and potential impacts.
  7. Mention any release notes or documentation provided to customers to facilitate the adoption and understanding of new updates or features.
  8. Talk about any quality assurance or testing practices conducted before each release to ensure software stability and reliability.
  9. Highlight metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) you track to measure the effectiveness and success of your release process.
  10. If applicable, provide insights into any continuous integration, delivery, or deployment tools used to streamline the release process.

Including this information will provide the customer with a comprehensive understanding of your release practices and your ability to meet their requirements.

Example Answers

Example 1:

[Company Name] performs software releases on a monthly basis. We have found that a monthly release cadence allows us to strike a balance between delivering timely updates and ensuring the stability of our software. Our release management process involves several stages, including development, testing, staging, and deployment. We follow an Agile approach, with regular sprints and iterations to incorporate feedback and make improvements. For major releases, we have a rigorous validation process involving multiple testing environments and user acceptance testing. Bug fixes and patches, on the other hand, are addressed through hotfixes, which are deployed as soon as possible to mitigate any issues. We maintain a transparent and proactive communication approach, providing release notes and announcements through our customer portal and email notifications. Additionally, we encourage feedback and engagement from our customers to continuously improve our software.

Example 2:

At [Company Name], our release frequency depends on the nature and urgency of the updates. We aim to strike a balance between delivering rapid bug fixes and ensuring stable and thoroughly tested releases. For minor updates and bug fixes, we perform regular releases on a weekly basis. This allows us to address critical issues promptly without disrupting the customers' workflow. On the other hand, major releases with significant new features and enhancements follow a quarterly schedule. These releases undergo meticulous testing, including regression testing, performance testing, and security testing, to ensure a seamless user experience. We maintain an open line of communication with our customers through release notes, email notifications, and a dedicated support portal to keep them informed about upcoming releases and the expected downtime, if any.

Example 3 (Negative):

Unfortunately, at [Company Name], we have encountered challenges related to release frequency in the past. Due to resource constraints and complex dependencies, our releases have suffered from delays and longer periods between updates. We acknowledge that this has affected customer satisfaction and our ability to address issues in a timely manner. However, we have implemented measures to improve our release process, such as streamlining internal workflows and investing in automation tools. We are actively working towards a more consistent release cadence and aim to transition to a monthly release cycle within the next six months. We apologize for any inconveniences caused and assure you that we are taking steps to rectify the situation and enhance our release practices.

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