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With every build release for a custom SharePoint solution (E.g. public facing site, intranet) there will be many manual configuration steps that needs to be done. (E.g. adding a new navigation item, create a new page and add and configure a CQWP, change the page layout etc.)

Keeping track of these manual steps becomes a harder as project grow larger. The problem becomes much more complicated when you have several environments (QA -> staging -> production). It becomes even worse when you release out of order builds, where production has a build which is 4 builds older to what you now have in QA, and now you need push build in QA to production environment.

I’d like to know how you handle this type of scenario? What are the best practices/tools to document these manual steps? Idea for a custom SharePoint list to keep track of things?

Appreciate your thoughts!

P.S. Someone please add a new tag for release-management :0

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Automate as much as possible, especially when it's a repeatable task. After all, if you're going to have to do it on Dev, Test, Staging and then the Live environment, you might as well ensure that the same action is being done on all.

If you have access to Powershell, try wrapping deployment tasks in that. Other options are command line tools or features.

It depends on your circumstances, but most of our updates are done in features, and we then have a custom tool to activate them in the correct order, and on the relevant web apps, sites, webs etc.

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