Ultimate Software Deployment Checklist [+Best Practices]

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Software Deployment Checklist for a Successful Rollout

Use Coda’s Software Deployment Checklist template to prepare yourself for different scenarios and reduce the number of deployment errors.
This template was built with Coda, the all-in-one platform that blends the flexibility of docs, structure of spreadsheets, power of applications, and intelligence of AI.

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Task name
Due date
Write unit tests
Adam Davis
Mary Jones
Jul 1, 2022
Run unit tests
Alan Chowansky
Jul 1, 2022
Deploy test to staging env
Mary Jones
Aug 1, 2022
Run end-to-end tests
Lola Tseudonym
In Progress
Aug 1, 2022
QA & internal user approval
Felix Marlin
In Progress
Aug 5, 2022
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After months (or years) of hard work, release day is finally here! While somewhat scary, you can’t deny the excitement deployment brings. However, for your hardworking team members, software deployment day is the first time they’ll deal with positive feedback or user complaints.
Trying to alleviate deployment headaches is a challenge, but a software deployment checklist can help. With a software deployment checklist template, you can relax (a bit), secure in knowing that your team has completed all the needed steps to make deployment as smooth as possible.
In this article, you’ll see how Coda’s software deployment checklist template can help prepare you for different scenarios and reduce the number of deployment errors. We’ll also consider:
What is software deployment?
The three main stages of software deployment
Why a software deployment checklist matters
The best practices for successful software deployment
Software deployment checklist FAQs

What is software deployment?

Software deployment is when updates, patches, applications, and software are delivered to end-users. Sometimes called web deployment, deployment also refers to installing, testing, running, updating, and adjusting your software.
While public deployment (presenting the software to the general users) is the most common type of software deployment, it’s also possible to deploy your software at different stages of the development cycle to ensure that it’s error-free.
A software deployment checklist ensures that the software release process goes as smoothly as possible. With a checklist, you can avoid a whack-a-mole situation where you scramble to fix errors in the software after deployment.

Three main stages of software deployment

A seamless software deployment process is essential to the smooth running of your organization. Whether you’re handling software deployment manually or automatically, there are three primary stages your process must pass through.
Let’s take a closer look at each stage.

Stage 1 - Preparation

In preparation, your team identifies, collects, and defines your customers' problems, wants, and expectations regarding your software or service.
The preparation phase requires plenty of legwork, making your work easier when done correctly. Some of the activities you’ll engage in during this phase might include:
Creating software specifications
Creating a plan
Product planning
Resource allocation
Additionally, software deployment preparation will most certainly involve design documents, frameworks, runtimes, and coding guidelines to allow the team to meet its goals as efficiently as possible.
After defining what’s to be done, the team now builds the software based on the guidelines and goals earlier defined.

Stage 2 - Testing

Testing is a vital step for ensuring the . This stage reveals whether the software passes the requirements for performance.

Stage 3 - Deployment

This final stage is where the software is distributed to users.

Why do you need a software deployment checklist?

Here are some reasons a software deployment checklist is essential.

Protects the current build

A deployment checklist reduces the risk of errors during deployment. For example, if you’re releasing an update to an existing product, a checklist ensures you don’t create problems in the current build.

Keeps the entire team focused on KPIs

A checklist reminds the team of the essential tasks to complete and ensures everyone has an eye on KPIs (key performance indicators).
A good software deployment checklist will contain corresponding goals and KPIs to indicate whether the process is running well.

Prepares the team for rollback scenarios

Even the best-laid plans can go awry, and without the safety net of a deployment checklist, your team can be in serious trouble if rollback scenarios arise.
A good checklist includes a rollback system as a critical part of deployment planning. If things get broken during or after deployment, the rollback plan included in the checklist will make it easy to restore a previous working state.

Allows for flexibility at launch

Now more than ever, software deployment needs to be flexible enough to deal with issues during and after deployment. With a software deployment checklist, you’ll be prepared for different scenarios and react appropriately without wasting valuable time.

Reinforces a repeatable deployment process

Since there’s already a checklist, it’s easier to deploy in the future. In addition, a thoroughly documented checklist can serve as a guide or reference for future team members or projects.

Coda’s ultimate software deployment checklist template

Coda has prepared a software deployment checklist template to help teams deploy faster and with fewer hiccups.
The template is divided into the three main stages of deployment.


Notify your team and users about the deployment
Preparation, as we’ve seen, is vital. The first step is notifying the team and users (if you’re rolling out an update) about the upcoming deployment.
Identify collaborators
Identify all collaborators and work to improve collaboration between Dev and Ops to minimize friction.
List third-party tools & requirements
Preparation also includes knowing all the tools and requirements that’ll be critical to the success of your deployment. List these out with an eye out on the tools you have, those you don’t have, and any others that might require training to use.
Set up the testing environment
Before rolling out the new product to users, it’s critical to test it. A testing environment, therefore, needs to be created.
Clarify your deployment process with the team
Communication with the team is sometimes overlooked in the deployment process. However, ensure you clarify the deployment process with the team to have everyone on the same page.
Have a rollback plan in place
Regardless of how you’re deploying the software, your checklist should include a rollback plan. This plan is invoked when critical problems arise.
For instance, you can use a rollback plan to redirect users to your tool's previous working build or version. It’ll also involve capturing a complete copy of the operational software version and its dependencies.
Identify performance metrics
You need performance metrics to measure your deployment’s effectiveness. These might include CPU and memory usage, query response times, and other simple metrics. You can also create custom KPIs to measure the effectiveness of your software and deployment, like queue depth, response times for particular tasks, and so on, depending on your software.


Make sure your systems are working by running several tests. Here are some things your checklist should cover:
Individual developers write unit tests
A unit test tests a small portion of the software and verifies its behavior independently from other portions.
Here’s the process a typical unit test follows.
A developer first initializes a small portion of the application they want to test. Next, the developer calls a method on the test portion and observes its behavior. If the result is consistent with requirements, then the unit test passes. If it gives an inconsistent result, then there’s a problem somewhere that needs correction.
Run all unit tests as part of Continuous Integration
Continuous Integration (CI) has become a preferred development practice in many great teams. Here, the developers integrate unit tests into a shared repository and an automated build and tests verify each integration.
This is geared toward helping teams launch bug-free products.
Deploy tests in a staging environment
The staging environment is an exact reproduction of a production environment and it’s used to test code, updates, and similar products to ensure it’s working correctly before deployment.
Ensure this part of the checklist is marked complete before moving on to deployment.
Run end-to-end tests to look for regression
Test the application’s workflow from start to end. End-to-end testing goes through all the operations the software can perform to test how it works with other applications like hardware and network connectivity.
To complete this task, follow the following steps:
Have a clear definition of how the software is supposed to work in every operation
Set up the test environment
Analyze any hardware and/software requirements
Clearly define how each system should respond
List the testing methods needed to test the responses
Run the tests, study the results, and document the outcome

Quality assurance & internal user approval
This is the final phase of the software testing process. Real software users test the software to reveal whether the software is ready to work in the real world.
This can help you ensure the quality of the software.

Deployment & Release Process

This is the last stage of the deployment process. Here are the things your checklist must cover.
Push the update to the production environment
The production environment is where your product is pushed live to the users. The user can interact with your software.
Monitor product performance
This is where your KPIs come in. Example KPIs include page load times, HTTP errors, and database performance.
Monitor environment health
The software environment might include the OS, the database system, compiler, and other systems that support the application.
Run smoke tests to ensure reliability in production
Smoke testing, or testing in production, can be risky. Doing your homework in the testing stage can ensure the core functionality of the software is running smoothly.
Keep track of logs
Keep track of logs to identify attacks on your system.
Document release versioning and release notes
Keep copies of new versions when changes are made to the product.

Six best practices for a successful software deployment

Here are six practices to follow to successfully deploy your software.

1. Improve collaboration

The deployment will go smoother when there is a good collaboration between all teams. DevOps will help you improve collaboration between software development and IT teams in charge of deployment.

2. Automate as much as possible

Manual deployment is a recipe for disaster. Automating as many steps as possible will reduce the chance of errors.
There are automation tools that have improved the application deployment process. For example, a CI tool like Codeship allows you to write a deployment script and integrate it with a code repository. You also have tools to test any new code before moving it to deployment automatically.
Before you choose any software tool, ensure you read this article on how to .

3. Build and package

Build and package your deployment package once and deploy it everywhere. Unfortunately, building a codebase every time you deploy to different environments opens vulnerabilities to your software.

4. Stick to the same deployment method for consistency

Your deployment method should be consistent regardless of the environment. If you use different deployment methods, it’s likely your software works in one environment but crashes in another because of disparity in configuration and setup.

5. Deploy only small chunks of code to minimize changes

Deploying small chunks of code instead of large-scale code changes reduces risks and increases the speed of delivery and feedback.

6. Make room for a post-mortem in the event of incidences

No matter your deployment method, ensure you have a contingency plan in case of incidences. A restoration plan should be ready to go when monitoring tools reveal problems. To be on top of things, we recommend keeping an eye on :
The server
Exception rates
Key performance indicators
Customer satisfaction metrics

Use a continuous deployment process

Continuous deployment refers to deploying new software updates when your developers make changes.
Using this continuous delivery process will make your rollouts faster and easier to roll back.

Software Deployment Checklist FAQs

What is deployment in the software development process?

Deployment is the delivery of updates, patches, and applications to the end-users of the software. It’s an essential stage of the product lifecycle and is how users get their hands on your software.

Who is responsible for software deployment?

The project manager is responsible for creating a software deployment plan. The project manager then presents this plan to the project team and valuable stakeholders, who then work on providing the deliverables.

What are common software deployment frameworks and strategies?

Common software deployment frameworks and strategies include:
Canary deployment
Blue-Green deployment
Recreate strategy
Shadow deployment
A/B testing deployment strategy

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