Stabilize Service Management Function Overview

Published: April 25, 2008


Stabilizing begins after the Scope Complete Milestone, which finalizes developing. The guidance provided by the Stabilize SMF is designed to assist the project team in the following activities:

  • Test the feature-complete solution.
  • Prepare release candidate versions of the solution.
  • Deal with feedback.
  • Fix reported bugs.

During testing, the emphasis is on using and operating the solution in realistic environmental conditions. The project team focuses on resolving and triaging (prioritizing) bugs and preparing the solution for deployment.

There are a number of types of testing that can be used at this stage, among them the following:

  • Unit/functional testing
  • Integrated testing
  • Operational testing

Test often reports bugs at a faster rate than Development can resolve them. Although there is no way to know how many bugs Test will find or how long it will take Development to fix them, there are statistical signposts known as bug convergence and zero bug bounce that help teams predict when solutions will reach stability. This guide describes both signposts.

Once the project team decides that a build is stable enough to be a release candidate, it deploys the solution to a pilot group. Stabilizing culminates in the Release Readiness MR. This milestone occurs when all outstanding issues have been addressed and the team has released the solution or deployed it to the production environment.

Stabilize SMF Role Types

The primary team accountability that applies to the Stabilize SMF is the Solution Accountability. The role types within that accountability and their primary activities within this SMF are displayed in the following table.

Table 1. Solutions Accountability and Its Attendant Role Types

Role Type


Role in this SMF

Solution Manager

  • Accountable role
  • Owns all SMFs in this accountability
  • Acts as project director for all projects
  • Resolves conflicts between projects


  • Ongoing oversight

Program Manager

  • Drives design, schedule, and resources at the project level


  • Sets design goals
  • Describes the solution concept
  • Creates the project structure
  • Documents requirements to test against


  • Builds the agreed-to solution


  • Creates solution
  • Fixes bugs


  • Tests to accurately determine the status of solution development


  • Tests strategies
  • Tests acceptance criteria
  • Tests solution
  • Documents project implications

Product Manager

  • Acts as the customer advocate
  • Helps drive shared project vision
  • Manages customer expectations


  • Participates in overall testing
  • Brings organization’s needs to testing process

User Experience

  • Acts as the user advocate on project teams
  • Helps define user requirements
  • Helps design to meet user requirements


  • Documents user performance requirements
  • Documents project test implications
  • Participates in bug triage

Release Management

  • Evaluates the solution design
  • Documents operations requirements to ensure they’re met by the design
  • Creates a pilot, deployment plan, and schedule
  • Manages site deployment


  • Documents deployment implications
  • Documents operations management and supportability
  • Documents operations acceptance criteria
  • Prepares for release

Operations Experience

  • Advocates for operations on the project team
  • Brings in operations experts as needed for detailed information
  • Coordinates with release management


  • Documents operations performance requirements
  • Participates in bug triage
  • Prepares for release

Test Manager

  • Owns all testing across all project teams
  • Develops testing strategy and plans
  • Ensures that best practice test methods are used


  • Ongoing oversight

Goals of Stabilizing

The goal of stabilizing is to release the highest-quality solution possible at the Release Readiness Milestone. The project team achieves this goal by identifying bugs and issues through thorough testing and release-candidate piloting. Then, the team triages and resolves all known bugs. Resolving a bug doesn’t necessarily mean fixing it—it can be deferred to a later version or declared not serious enough to fix.

The goals of stabilizing include:

  • Testing the feature-complete solution.
  • Deploying one or more release candidates to a pilot group.
  • Addressing the pilot-test feedback and bugs.

Table 2 shows the desired outcomes of the Stabilize SMF goals and lists measures you can use to gauge how successfully you have achieved these goals after completing this SMF.

Table 2. Outcomes and Measures of the Stabilize SMF Goals



A high-quality, stable solution

  • Bug convergence and zero bug bounce achieved
  • No unresolved bugs in the issue-tracking database

All issues found by testing and through pilot feedback are resolved

  • The number of unresolved bugs in the issue-tracking database
  • Signoff on the Release Readiness Milestone

A high-quality solution that meets the customer’s expectations and specifications as defined in the functional specification

  • Signoff on the Release Readiness Milestone

Key Terms

The following table contains definitions of key terms found in this guide.

Table 3. Key Terms



Bug convergence

The point at which the number of bugs fixed exceeds the number of bugs reported. Bug convergence is the first indication that the solution is becoming stable.

Functional testing

Testing a completed solution against the functional specification.

Integration testing

Testing individual, united tested components integrated with other components.

Pilot test

Testing conducted by a subset of users in a production environment. The pilot group uses the solution, providing feedback and reporting any bugs the group finds.


The process of prioritizing and rationalizing bugs and issues with the solution. Priorities assigned to the bugs indicate how critical it is to fix them. Rationalizing is the process of determining the severity of the bug and whether the bug must be fixed for the current release.

Unit testing

Testing individual solution components.

Zero bug bounce

The point at which development has no open bugs to fix. Although it is highly likely that test will report additional bugs in the future, zero bug bounce is the first indication that stabilizing is nearing an end.

This accelerator is part of a larger series of tools and guidance from Solution Accelerators.


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