- 1. Unleash — Best solution with built-in user data security features
- 2. Freshservice — ITSM tool with release management features
- 3. Chef — Release management with automation features
- 4. Jama Connect — Requirements management and traceability tool
- 5. aqua ALM — Test management solution with collaboration features
- 6. Plutora — Powerful software release analytics
- 7. CloudBees — DevOps tool for large and compliance-first organizations
- 8. Octopus Deploy — Powerful release management and automation
- 9. Darkly — Feature release management tool
- 10. Digital.ai — Best for robust analytics and reporting features
Software is never finished. Development teams need to make a constant stream of updates to products, whether that is fixing bugs, improving features, or adding entirely new functionality.
In this environment, the number of releases companies can deploy is important. In fact, 75% of organizations say that deployment frequency is the main way they measure DevOps success.
Managing all these releases isn’t easy, but the best software release management tools can help. They do this by streamlining the development, testing, and deployment process.
What are software release management tools?
Software release management tools help dev teams plan, develop, test, and deploy software releases. They are essential for agile teams who need to release continuous updates at speed.
They do this by streamlining the process and automating time-consuming tasks. Many tools also include collaboration and process management features.
Unleash is a software release management tool that enables developers to automate deploying new features while significantly reducing the time and effort it takes to push updates across multiple environments. This intuitive platform provides a centralized, streamlined way to manage releases, offering essential features such as feature flagging, A/B testing, and performance monitoring. Team members can test new features in a live environment without affecting critical systems. This helps ensure that new features are thoroughly tested before being released into production, reducing the risk of system failure.
The platform offers a rollout plan feature that allows teams to plan and manage software releases in a structured and streamlined way. By taking a gradual approach, developers can mitigate the risks of releasing new features simultaneously, such as potential bugs or performance issues that might disrupt the entire system. This feature ensures a smooth and seamless software release experience for developers and end users while minimizing any potential negative impact on end users. Unleash provides an interactive dashboard with real-time insights into feature releases, performance metrics, and feature adoption.
Unleash provides an analytics feature that gives developers in-depth insights into their features' performance. This can help the team make informed decisions about which features to keep, which ones to prioritize, and which ones to cut out. The software integrates seamlessly with tools like GitHub, GitLab, and Jenkins, making it a comprehensive and versatile release management solution. This integration ensures that software projects can be seamlessly managed and delivered without switching between different tools in the development process.
Pricing starts at $80 per month for 5 users, and a 14-day free trial is available.
Freshservice is an ITSM tool that helps with multiple IT services including release management. The main feature is the service desk which allows your IT team to manage tickets and then track and prioritize resolutions.Use automation such as machine learning-powered recommendations to take care of minor tasks while dedicating more resources to high-priority ones.
The release management features allow you to create and test plans before deployment. You can also create announcements to share with your organization to reduce disruption caused by downtime.
Freshservice helps you mitigate risk by mapping out relationships and dependencies between tasks and keeping track of all scheduled releases.The tool has access to integrations via the Freshworks Marketplace. This includes connections to tools such as MS Teams, Slack, Asana, G Suite, and Office 365.
Freshservice starts at $29 per agent per month. You can try the tool for free for 21 days.
Chef is a software release management tool with features to help teams scale continuous delivery.Dev teams can use the tool to deliver applications to almost any environment on any OS or deployment platform. The automation stack helps teams automate key release processes, while the infrastructure management features ensure consistency across all environments.
The tool also has robust compliance features to ensure updates process according to your rules, thus preventing security incidents. You just have to define infrastructure, application, and security policy requirements as code.
Together, these features mean the release process is simplified and more consistent. You’ll release products faster and save potentially thousands of hours depending on the size of your teams.
Chef doesn’t promote pricing. But you can contact the sales team for a quote based on your exact needs.
Jama Connect is requirements management software that helps guarantee releases are compliant and high-quality.Use the tool to create compliance frameworks to ensure design, development, and testing is done in a way that minimizes risk. The tool also increases process efficiency by letting teams create reusable versions of software for testing and validation.Change management features ensure all edits are stored so you get complete live traceability across the development cycle. And you can use the review center to invite relevant stakeholders to manage feedback and the review process.Jama Connect integrates with plenty of tools including task management, design and simulation, DevOps, and risk management. The tool doesn’t promote pricing, but you can sign up for a demo or a free 30-day trial on the website.
Aqua is a software release management tool with features that cover all areas of software development, including project management, test management, and reporting.The tool enables easy collaboration between developers. It’s easy for anyone to log in and then assign tasks, start discussions, or send notifications.
The tool integrates with plenty of other tools such as Jenkins, Ranorex, and Jira so you can automate test cases. You can also create your own scripts using the Aqua API. All tests can be run in Aqua so anyone in your team can view and analyze the results. If there’s an issue with the test, it’s easy to create a new defect and the tool will export information from the test.
The tool has in-depth requirements management which allows you to specify requirements in each task so everyone is aware of them. And any changes are tracked in the tool’s history, ensuring revision safety and easier audits.You can also create a dashboard highlighting the information you deem to be most important. For example, you can see the status of defects and tests, as well as view cases by creation date. This information can then be exported into reports.
Aqua pricing starts at $35 per month. You can sign up for a free 30-day trial on the website.
Plutora is a software release management tool that helps you understand the entire software release process across your organization. It lets you see how different teams perform and ensures that independent teams are aligned with the business.The idea is that it connects with all the technology used by each of your organization’s teams. This gives your organization’s leaders unparalleled insight into the production process of each team.
The tool comes with powerful analytics and visualization features that show information about your entire software delivery process. You can see data on factors like completed items and item throughput. And the tool will visualize trends or potential bottlenecks so you can take action early.
The tool integrates with plenty of other software in many categories, which is essential for organizations where different teams rely on different types of software.
The tool doesn’t advertise pricing but you can contact the team to schedule a consultation.
CloudBees is a software delivery platform with features to help your delivery updates at speed.The tool has powerful compliance features and is designed for large organizations that prioritize compliance. For example, the rule designer tool lets teams set enterprise-wide standards for code, data, identities, and cloud environments.
Teams can create pipelines to manage the release process. And they can test code in production-like environments. It also has deployment automation features with multiple out-of-the-box release and rollback strategies. You can also schedule deployments based on resource availability.
The tool has robust analytics to help you optimize performance, remove bottlenecks, and reduce costs. You can see data such as the number of successful deployments in a given period, as well as the ratio of successful deployments to efforts.
CloudBees doesn’t advertise pricing, but you can contact one of the company’s experts to find out more.
Octopus Deploy is a deployment automation tool that aims to make deploying web apps fast, repeatable, and reliable. The tool works with both on-premises and cloud-based applications.The tool is solely focused on deployment. And you can deploy directly to web services like AWS or Microsoft Azure.
The tool has a step template library that comes with hundreds of official and user-generated workflows for deploying different types of projects. This means you can get up and running by creating scripts yourself.It’s also easy to configure variables such as login data for third-party services or database connection strings. This allows Octopus to automatically update your configuration files as it pushes your file to different environments.
Octopus pricing starts at $50 per month for 5 deployment targets. You can grab a 30-day free trial on the website.
Darkly is a release management tool with plenty of features to help you deliver releases faster.It uses feature flags to help you decouple software deployment and releases. This allows you to release new features to different segments of users, thus decreasing risk and ensuring release managers stay in control.
It’s easy to test your code in production before releasing it to reduce risk. And if issues occur, instant rollback ensures you can resolve issues as soon as you discover them.
The tool has features for agencies that allow you to develop the software or updates and then hand the release over to business owners. The tool has SDKs for all major platforms including iOS, Android, Salesforce, and more. It also integrates with Microsoft Teams and Slack to keep your team in the loop.
Pricing starts at $10 per seat per month. This provides unlimited feature flags and access to all the tool’s 25 plus SDKs.
You can sign up for a free 14-day trial on the website.
Digital.ai is a software release automation tool that provides a unified platform for streamlining processes such as code management, continuous integration, and continuous deployment. It supports many technologies, including .NET, Java, and Python. It effectively integrates with other tools like Selenium and Appium, making it ideal for organizations that use various technologies to build software systems. Digital.ai enables organizations to conduct automated tests to verify the functionality of new releases, which helps identify software defects and issues early in the release cycle and mitigate the impact of bugs on end users.
Digital.ai's user interface is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing organizations to easily manage their software release processes. It provides a centralized dashboard that gives an overview of all the ongoing projects, making it easy to prioritize and allocate resources as necessary. It offers real-time communication and collaboration features like chat rooms, task lists, and document sharing. Digital.ai's release orchestration capabilities provide visibility and control over the release process. Teams can easily manage release timelines, track progress, and automate workflows. Release orchestration supports integration with third-party tools like JIRA and ServiceNow for a seamless end-to-end release process.
Digital.ai offers robust analytics and reporting features, allowing teams to track the status and success of releases. Real-time data and dashboards provide insights into quality, efficiency, and release cycles. Reporting and metrics also support data-driven decision-making, enabling teams to continually improve their release process. The software offers robust compliance and governance features, ensuring that releases meet regulatory and security standards. It provides security features such as role-based access control and encryption of sensitive data.
Need expert help selecting the right Product Management Software?
We’ve joined up with Crozdesk.com to give all our readers (yes, you!) access to Crozdesk’s software advisors. Just use the form below to share your needs, and they will contact you at no cost or commitment. You will then be matched and connected to a shortlist of vendors that best fit your company, and you can access exclusive software discounts!
Best solution with built-in user data security features
14-day free trial + free demo available
|From $80/month for 5 users||Visit Website|
ITSM tool with release management features
21-day free trial
|From $49/user/month||Visit Website|
Release management with automation features
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Visit Website|
Requirements management and traceability tool
30-day free trial
|Pricing Upon Request||Visit Website|
Test management solution with collaboration features
30-day free trial
|From $38/month||Visit Website|
Powerful software release analytics
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Visit Website|
DevOps tool for large and compliance-first organizations
Free version available
|From $1,325/month||Visit Website|
Powerful release management and automation
30-day free trial
|From $50 per month||Visit Website|
Feature release management tool
14-day free trial
|From $10 per seat per month||Visit Website|
Best for robust analytics and reporting features
Free trial available
|Pricing information is available upon request||Visit Website|
Release management tool for Salesforce
- QA Wolf
Best for outsourcing test covereage to speed up software releases
- Jira Software
Plan and manage software releases
- Jira Service Management
ITSM software with a help desk, self service portal, & ticketing features
Open source automation server
Automation platform on Microsoft Azure
- Azure Pipelines
Pipeline tool to manage development
How I Picked The Best Software Release Management Tools
This list started as an extensive research of dozens of popular tools based on user reviews and ratings. Then, I narrowed it down using my product management experience and using the basic features a good release management software needs to compare them. Finally, I selected the finalists and created the criteria below for my assessment.
User Interface (UI)
The tool should have a clean UI so it’s easy for devops teams to see what they need to do and collaborate on tasks. A good UI can indirectly help speed up the software development process. It helps operations teams save time on navigation and focus more on task automation and other features.
Look for features like application release automation and templates to make the tools easy to use.
Very few tools can offer a full range of features. Therefore, I look at ways in which they connect to other software providers. This can include plugins, and pre-built integrations with other configuration management tools like Clarive. I also include details on available APIs and webhooks you can use to build custom integrations.
The cost of the tool needs to be worth the features. Most of the tools on this list offer a free trial so you can test them out without paying.
What are the key features of software release management tools?
- Application delivery: This connects your test environment with your product to simplify update delivery. Some tools connect with multiple environments so you can update multiple products, such as mobile and web apps, at once.
- Segmented delivery: Segmented delivery allows you to release updates to particular segments of your user base. Gradually releasing updates ensures any issues only affect a small proportion of customers.
- Compliance: Compliance features let you minimize risk by defining policies as code.
- Collaboration: Some tools have collaboration features that let managers assign tasks and add further details. Some of these tools rival the best product management tools when it comes to collaboration.
- Easy roll-back: This ensures that if something goes wrong with your delivery, you can easily roll the product back to the pre-update state.
- Reporting: Reporting gives insight into the release process. You can see how different teams are performing.
What else can I read on the topic?
- Software Release Life Cycle (SRLC): Understand The 6 Main Stages
- Best application lifecycle management tools
- Notable Product Analytics Certification & If They’re Worth It
- What Is An Agile Epic? Best Practices, Template & Example
- Idea Management Software To Manage New Ideas For Products
This list contains ten of the best options that dev teams have for release management software. If you want to learn more about release management, you can read how to write effective software release notes.
For more information and insight about managing products, subscribe to our newsletter. Every week we send out insight to help product managers do their jobs.