The SEVEN S7EPTM Deployment process is a well defined deployment strategy which is part of the SharePoint Governance Methodology.
You can use this model to ensure consistent deployment deliverables by 3rd party developers that are engaged to build end-user solutions for your organization.
Primarily the SEVEN S7EP deployment model will systematically allow the movement of custom deployments from one environment such as UAT or Testing through to Staging or Integration Testing without any manual intervention with the deployment package or its contents.
It is essential that an approved package in one environment is not altered as it is deployed or in order to achieve a successful deployment in another SharePoint Farm.
The SEVEN S7EP Deployment model, also creates a divide between the responsibilities of the SharePoint Farm Custodians responsible for a successful deployment and the engaging business unit which commissioned the work in the first instance.
IT or the Farm custodian are interested in a successful deployment and migration from one farm to another in a promotional sense, while the business unit it interested in making sure that the application is performing as required by the business. This is where it all becomes problematic for both parties.
In an ideal world the 3rd party developer would be commissioned to do the build and would deliver a flawless development which would be firstly deployed to UAT by the IT department, tested and accepted by the business, then the same package deployed to the Production environment and again accepted by the commissioning business unit. The supplier gets paid and the new development is available for the target audience.
Where this often comes apart is there is usually no relationship between the DEVELOPER and the DEPLOYER and the DEPLOYER isn't really sure why the BUSINESS UNIT keeps asking for this package to be redeployed because there is no visibility over the final deliverable.
Tension can become further increased when there is a chargeback model in place too.
The key to improving this process is to ensure that the deployment process is as seamless and automated as possible. If the IT department deploying the build needs to spend 3 to 4 hours retracting this, applying this database table, running iisreset etc. You can appreciate that doing this 9 or 10 times can become an extra weeks work for an IT department that wasn't expecting such a requirement and hasn't allocated the resources to the project.
The SEVEN S7EP Deployment model works with and references parts of your SharePoint Governance Methodology capitalizing on the decisions made in the policy to ensure that your internal and 3rd party customizations are built and deployed in accordance with your SharePoint Governance Plan with the minimum fuss in a controlled and regulated environment with a pre-defined set of expectations relating to ALL parties.
The SEVEN S7EP Deployment model has a 50 page base template Microsoft Word document that is used to create the deployment guide for the customer.