Below are some points to keep in mind for Test Release Process Improvement:
1) Before starting the smoke or sanity testing on the new release, you should review the report prepared for the release of new functionality or update existing functionality.
2) Update all testing documents if they are not updated already which are related to the new functionality and then review them. But these documents should be updated regularly or weekly according to the weekly project review meetings.
3) Build number, version number should be updated in the software build of configuration repository and also review them if not already. Also, make sure that the build is successfully compiled and installed in the testing server.
4) Talk over the pros and cons of the released build, known bugs by conducting a project review meeting after release. It will avoid the miscommunications and also covers the client requirements. Also, avoid oral communication because it will impacts the quality of the software release.
5) Make sure that bug tracking tool should be configured properly for allocated testing and development teams. It will help to log the bugs systematically. If it is not already configured properly then it will be on high priority.
6) When tester received the new build then immediately start the smoke testing and if it fails then tester should return the build to the development team. Testing should not continue after this. It will save a lot of time and also improves the quality.
7) Make sure that testers should be trained properly on the domain. Also, testing team should be trained in required technologies e.g. Scripting, SQL if project demands the white box testing.
8) When the tester are assigned to multiple projects then it will effects the quality of test execution. If they are assigned on multiple projects with deadlines then they can also skip some test cases assuming that they'll never fails.
9) Make sure that testing team can also do the software installation so it should be easy and straightforward. It will save time if testers can reinstall the software if needed instead of waiting for installation manager.
10) Make sure that automation tools should be available with license for an automation testing framework if automation testing is required. So, automation tools should be configured properly and should have license for multiple users if performance and load testing is required.
11) Make sure that Ghosted machines are setup for testing if required. These machines are used when different testing environment are needed.
12) New feature addition or changing any feature during the test execution should be avoided. It should be properly planned and implemented before the release.