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Release Manager

The release manager oversees the monthly release of GitLab as well as any patch releases for that version.


Master checklist for onboarding of new release managers

The following checklist can be copied and pasted into a new issue in the Organization project to make sure the new release manager has the tools and some initial knowledge ready. The topics are ordered by priority and should be tackled by the new release manager before starting the appointed release.


- [ ] Make a note of your `dev` and `github` usernames and add them to this issue.
- [ ] Create a [new infra issue]([title]=Chef%20access%20request), set it to confidential, and post your SSH username and public key there: [link to infrastructure issue]
- [ ] Make sure you have the [chef-repo]( and [release-tools]( cloned locally, with all dependencies installed through [bundle](
- [ ] Read through the [release guides](
- [ ] Join #releases on Slack, and introduce yourself
- [ ] Master access on gitlab-ce  (dev and com)
- [ ] Master access on gitlab-ee (dev and com)
- [ ] Master access on gitlab-omnibus (dev) (already have on com)
- [ ] Developer access on chef-repo cookbook
- [ ] Get added to the [Release Managers team]( on GitHub.

First Tasks

- [ ] Read the deploy docs: and
- [ ] Be involved in the merge/pick to stable for at least one RC/Patch
- [ ] Perform the ce-to-ee merge at least once for a RC/Patch
- [ ] Tag the release for at least one RC/patch
- [ ] Join a staging deploy call
- [ ] Join a deploy call
- [ ] Deploy to staging at least once
- [ ] Deploy to at least once

  Last task (after the release)

- [ ] Ensure the next RM trainee has an onboarding issue like this one.



The release manager's job begins with creating and tracking the release issue.

Any task can be delegated to any member of the team who can perform it. When delegating a task, be sure to mention a person directly rather than asking something indirect like "Can someone help me do QA?". If someone is unavailable to perform a task, ask someone else, or ask Job or a previous release manager to find someone. The monthly releases are a company-wide effort, and should not fall entirely on the release manager's shoulders.

Once the regressions issue is created, the release manager is responsible for tracking and managing it. This usually involves checking the reported issues and any available fixes for those issues, and ensuring they are included either in the next release candidate or the final release.


Release managers have the responsibility to deliver appropriate training to the release manager trainees appointed to the same release.

They'll need to make sure that trainees already have an onboarding checklist early on the release process, as well as giving them the opportunity to tackle most of the release tasks during the release, at least once.


After performing all of his or her pre-release tasks, and releasing the final version of the monthly release, the release manager gets to relax, sometimes for as long as six hours!

But no release is ever perfect, and the bug reports will start to come in as users update to the latest version. That's where patch releases come in.


The amount and scheduling of patch releases is entirely at the discretion of the release manager (with the exception of security releases, which should be addressed immediately).

If a bug affects a large number of users and/or a critical piece of functionality, it's fine to release a patch with only one fix. Sometimes a patch will include five or more minor fixes. The release manager should use his or her best judgement to determine when a patch release is warranted. We strive to continue releasing patches until all known regressions for that release are addressed.


With the help of the infrastructure team, the release manager is also responsible for deploying the latest version to During the merge window, the release manager needs to pay particular attention to migrations that may block the deploy. For example, migrations that take a long time (e.g., adding a column with a default value to the issues table) should be reviewed carefully.

When the release packages are ready, the release manager should begin the deployment procedure.

Further Reading

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