Run a release process

This topic describes how to run a release process, execute the release stages, perform actions, and evaluate quality gates.

Overview

Release process stages contain actions, both manual and automated, as well as quality gates. Actions and quality gates are assigned to users.

Note:  

  • Actions and quality gates assigned to you are added to the My Work area.

  • The business rules that control which items are added to the My Work area can be customized.

The items are ready to work on when they are in the Pending phase. Items automatically move to Pending when their start time arrives, provided that the preceding items are completed.

Auto actions are executed automatically when the previous action is completed or when scheduled.

If an item has not started 24 hours after its start time, the item is flagged Overdue.

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Start a process

When you are ready to start a process, select the process and click Start Process.

When a process is created, it starts off in Planned phase. If the planned start time is in the future, and the date is pinned, the Phase is set to Scheduled. For details, see Date and time fields.

When the process' start date arrives, the process moves to In Progress. To ignore the future start date, click Start Process Now.

The process' Current stage field displays the name of the stage that is currently in progress.

A process completes when all its stages are completed. If one of the stages fails, the overall process is set to Failed.

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Execute stages

When the first stage's start time arrives, the stage moves from Scheduled to In Progress. To ignore a stage's future start date, click Proceed Now.

A stage is completed when all its actions and quality gates are completed. If one of the stage's items fails, the overall stage is set to Failed.

Only one stage can run at a time. After one stage completes, the next stage begins.

For details on how to manually adjust the Start and End times, see Actual start and end times.

Tip: Hover over the Start time and End time fields to open a popup showing the actual vs. planned times.

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Perform actions and evaluate quality gates

When the start time of a stage's first action arrives, the action moves from Scheduled to Pending. To ignore the item's future start date, click Proceed Now.

Consider the following notes:

  • Auto actions run automatically when the previous action is completed or when scheduled. If an auto action fails, you can edit the action details and run it again by clicking Retry.
  • After an action is completed, the next action or quality gate moves to Scheduled or Pending.
  • If an action item is still pending 24 hours after its start time, the action is flagged Overdue.
  • After all the actions and quality gates in a stage are completed or skipped, the stage itself is marked Completed, and the next stage begins.

To execute an action or quality gate:

  1. Open the My Work area. For details, see My Work module.

  2. To start a pending manual action or quality gate, click Start. The item moves to In Progress.

    Tip: You can evaluate quality gates also in the Process Flow grid. Select a quality gate to display its criteria in the Preview pane, and evaluate the criteria.

  3. Evaluate quality gate criteria:

    • User input criteria. Go through each of the user-input criteria, and mark them as Passed or Failed.
    • Query criteria. The criteria is automatically evaluated and marked as Passed or Failed.

      Note: If a large number of query criteria is scheduled to run in parallel, they may not be evaluated. In such a case, a message will display. To prompt an evaluation of the criteria, hover over the quality gate status flags one-by-one, or open the quality gate Criteria tabs.

      The number of query criteria that can run in parallel is set by the QUERY_CRITERION_CALC_COUNT_PER_TASK parameter. For details, see Configuration parameters.

      You can simulate the results of planned query criteria, or drill down to the results of evaluated query criteria. For details, see Simulate or drill down to query results.

    Quality gates are flagged according their status. For details, see Quality gate status flags.

  4. After handling the manual action or quality gate, mark how the item concluded, using one of the following buttons: Complete, Fail, Skip.

    Conclusion Details
    Complete

    Indicates that an item completed successfully. The item is marked Completed, and the next item moves to Pending.

    If you mark a quality gate as completed, although not all its criteria passed or were evaluated, you are prompted to provide a reason for completing the gate. Your input is added to the Transition note field. The quality gate's phase is set to Completed.

    • If none of the criteria were evaluated, the quality gate's success flag is set to Not evaluated but overridden.
    • If at least one of the criteria failed, the quality gate's success flag is set to Failed but overridden.
    Fail

    Indicates that an item failed. The item is marked Failed.

    The parent nodes and overall process are labeled as follows:

    • Sequential group or stage: The item's parent groups and stage, and the overall process are marked Failed. The process stops, and the subsequent actions and stages are suspended.
    • Parallel group or stage: The item's parent groups and stage, and the overall process are marked Failing. After all the parallel items are processed, if the failed item remains failed, its parent groups and stage, and the overall process are marked Failed. The process stops, and the subsequent actions and stages are suspended.

    You can retry a failed action or quality gate. In the Release Management module, select the action, and click Retry. The action returns to Pending. The parent groups, stage and process return to In Progress.

    Skip Indicates that the action or quality gate was skipped. The item is marked Skipped. The next action moves to Pending.
  5. Add a comment regarding the conclusion.

Unlike manual actions or quality gates, auto actions do not require a user to manually mark how the action concluded:

Conclusion Details
Completed

The auto action is automatically marked Completed if the action ran successfully.

For CI server auto actions, you can check the server build number and status using the Output properties field in the action details or history. The build number and status values are received from the respective CI server.

Failed

Check the execution message to find out the failure reason. If possible, edit the auto action details, and then run it again by clicking Retry.

The auto action will move back to Pending > In Progress in case the action execution started successfully.

Note:

  • If a failed auto action is assigned to a user, the action is displayed in the user's My Work area.

  • If the auto action failed in the output processing, you can retry it from that step, instead of rerunning the whole action. For details, see Retry failed processing steps.

If necessary, you can skip or abort an auto action. An aborted item is marked as Failed, and you can retry the failed auto action.

Note:

  • Aborting a CI or CD auto action also aborts the corresponding job on the CI server. The reverse is also true: aborting a job on the CI server also aborts the corresponding auto action.
  • By default, if an auto action remains In Progress for more than 120 minutes, the action is considered outdated. CI or CD server polling is then triggered to verify the auto action execution status. You can change the auto action outdate time by modifying the RC_AA_RUN_CI_JOB_STATUS_OUTDATE_TIME or RC_AA_RUN_CD_PROCESS_OUTDATE_TIME parameters. For details, see Configuration parameters.

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Complete or skip in advance

You can skip or complete release process items that are still in the Planned phase.

Option Details
Skip items in advance Select an action, quality gate, group or stage in Planned phase and click Skip. All child items in a skipped stage or group are also marked Skipped.
Complete items in advance Select an action or quality gate in the Planned phase, and click Complete.

Reopen items

You can reopen items that were skipped or completed in advance.

To reopen an item, select the item and click Reopen.

    Note:
  • If you reopen a stage or group, all its child items are reopened.
  • Reopened items are restored to the phases they had before they were skipped or completed in advance.

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Retry failed processing steps

Advanced output processing lets you use automatically generated output properties, such as build number and version, to set variable values. You then use these variable values in subsequent actions. For details, see Create a release process.

If an auto action fails in the advanced output processing step, you can retry the action from the point where it began the advanced output processing, instead of rerunning the entire action. To determine the cause of the failure, see the Execution message column and refer to the message in the popup hint.

To retry a single auto action:

  1. In the Process Flow tab, select the action you want to retry.

  2. Expand the Retry dropdown and select Retry output processing.

  3. In the message box, click Retry output processing to confirm.

To retry multiple auto actions for a multiple selected action:

  1. In the Process Flow tab, select all of the actions you want to retry.

  2. From the right-click context menu, select Retry output processing.

  3. In the message box, click Retry output processing to confirm.

Tip: Auto actions that failed in the advanced output processing step will appear in the My Work section. To retry the action, expand the More dropdown and select Retry output processing.

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Quality gate status flags

A flag alongside the quality gate's name signals the quality gate's status:

Flag Details
Not evaluated The default flag as long as the gate's criteria have not been evaluated.
Not evaluated but overridden None of the quality gate's criteria were evaluated. The owner nevertheless marked the quality gate completed or skipped.
Failed

One or more of the quality gate's criteria failed.

Failed but overridden/ skipped One or more of the quality gate's criteria failed. The owner nevertheless either marked the quality gate completed or skipped.
Passed All the quality gate's criteria passed.

Mouse over the status flag to open a hover box displaying the gate's criteria and their evaluations. You can simulate the results of non-evaluated query criteria, or view the results of evaluated query criteria. For details, see Simulate or drill down to query results.

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Simulate or drill down to query results

You can simulate the results of non-evaluated query criteria, or display the results of evaluated query criteria.

  • For evaluated query criteria, you can click on the result link in the hover box to display a list of the items returned by the query.
  • For non-evaluated query criteria, you can click the Simulate Results link in the hover box to predict what the criteria outcome will be. After the simulation, you can click the result link for each criterion to display a list of the items that the query returns.

    Note:  

    • You can simulate query criteria of quality gates that are in the Planned phase only.
    • The simulation reflects the current situation. The results of the actual quality gate evaluation may be different.

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See also: