Release management and release engineering are two terms in DevOps that often get confused. They look and sound similar, but their functions are completely different in what they do and how they are implemented. That said, both serve the same purpose in the bigger picture of software releases.
According to Wikipedia, release management is “the process of managing, planning, scheduling and controlling a software build through different stages and environments; including testing and deploying software releases.”
Release management deals with process, release alignment and tracking in the software development process. Release management deals more with the non-technical aspects of the whole release process. This is much more similar to project management, which deals with project planning, execution and coordination, taking it to its end. Similarly, release management deals with release process, tracking release workflow, release coordination and taking the release to the production.
Wikipedia defines release engineering as “a sub-discipline in software engineering concerned with the compilation, assembly, and delivery of source code into finished products or other software components.”
Release engineering involves building fast and reliable pipelines to transform source code into viable products. Release engineering focuses on the purely technical aspects of the software release. In a nutshell, release engineering deals with the technical aspects of getting a release from development to production.
Release engineering involves multiple aspects of DevOps, including software configuration management, builds, deployment and environment management. In simple terms, release engineering means engineering the (software) release!
Release engineering and management both are very important to the success of a software project. Without these two, flawless releases won’t happen. They even provide better visibility to audits to know what goes in to the production.
Both terms are different but both are important aspects of DevOps that take software to its destination in same train.