Rollback Plan

Rollback Plan

So you're new to the world of rollback plans but want to sound like an expert when your boss asks about them, huh? Don't worry, we've got you covered. A rollback plan is your safety net in the event something goes wrong with a system upgrade or software deployment. It's a step-by-step plan to get things back to normal. Think of it as an "undo" button.

In this beginner's guide, we'll walk you through what a rollback plan is, why it's so important, and how to create one for your next big project. By the end, you'll be able to speak confidently about rollback plans and have the knowledge to build your own. While software deployments and system upgrades can be intimidating, a solid rollback plan gives you the confidence to move forward knowing you have a path back. So take a deep breath and dive in with us. We'll have you conversing about rollback plans like a pro in no time!

What Is a Rollback Plan?

A rollback plan refers to a company's strategy to revert major business changes in the event of significant issues. Say your company rolls out a huge new software update, and it ends up causing major problems. A rollback plan ensures you have a way to restore the previous, stable system.

Rollback plans typically involve careful documentation and backups of previous setups. Before any major change, like a software update, policy change, or process overhaul, companies will save details about how things currently work. That way, if the need arises to revert back, they have the information to do so.

Some key things a good rollback plan will specify:

  1. What changes are being made that could potentially need to be rolled back. This helps identify what backups need to be created.

  2. Exact system settings, software versions, and configurations currently in place. This level of detail is important in case a full rollback is needed.

  3. Step-by-step rollback procedures to restore the previous setup. These should be clearly documented so anyone can execute the plan if needed.

  4. Roles and responsibilities for executing a rollback. Make sure the key people needed are identified and properly trained.

  5. A schedule for testing and practicing the rollback plan. Doing test runs helps ensure the plan is viable and people understand their roles.

  6. Emergency contact information for all parties involved. In a crisis situation, communication is critical, so contact details should be kept up to date.

If executed properly, a rollback plan can save companies from disaster during a failed upgrade or other unforeseen issues. While no one anticipates the need for one, having a rollback strategy in place gives stability and security. Think of it as an insurance policy - you hope not to use it, but you'll be glad it's there if you need it.

Why Do Companies Implement Rollback Plans?

Companies implement rollback plans for a few key reasons.

First, in case something goes wrong. Rollback plans allow companies to quickly revert to a previous, stable version if an update or change causes issues. This ensures minimal disruption and prevents prolonged downtime.

Second, to test changes. Companies will often roll out new software, features or redesigns incrementally to portions of users. If feedback is negative or problems arise, they can easily "rollback" to the previous version for those users. This allows them to test changes on a smaller scale before a wide release.

Finally, to compare versions. By rolling out changes to some users but not others, companies can directly compare user experience, engagement and other metrics between the old and new versions. This helps determine if a wider rollout of the new change will be beneficial or not.

In the end, rollback plans provide companies flexibility and control. They can try new things without worrying that a misstep could be catastrophic. And by testing changes in a controlled way, they have the data to make informed decisions about whether to move forward, revise or ultimately roll back completely. Having an exit strategy with minimal consequences gives companies the freedom to improve, adapt and innovate.

Examples of Effective Rollback Plans

Rollback plans are strategies put in place in case something goes wrong. They ensure you have a way to revert back to a previous, stable state. Some effective examples of rollback plans include:

Version control

When developing software, web applications or any digital product, using a version control system lets you track changes over time and revert back to previous versions if needed. Popular tools like Git allow you to create checkpoints called commits that capture the state of all files at a particular point in time. If a new version introduces issues, you can roll back to a previous commit.

Database backups

Regularly backing up your database protects your data in case of issues with the live database. If something goes awry, like accidental data loss or corruption, you can restore your database from a backup to return to a working state. Most database management systems offer simple ways to schedule recurring backups and restore from them.

Server imaging

Taking periodic images of your servers captures their state at a point in time. If a server experiences hardware failure or software issues, you can simply spin up a new server from the most recent stable image. This rolls back that server environment to the state captured in the image. Some server imaging services also allow you to boot images as live servers to test configuration changes before promoting them to production.

Caching layers

Using a caching layer in front of a system or application acts as a rollback mechanism. The cache stores copies of data, configuration or other artifacts. If the underlying system or data source has issues, the cached copies can continue serving responses and mask the problem from end users. Once the underlying system is back to a working state, the cache can be refreshed from it.

In summary, rollback plans that capture the state of environments, data and systems at multiple points in time provide insurance against disruptions by allowing you to turn back the clock and revert to an earlier stable state. With the right rollback strategies in place, you have more flexibility to experiment without worrying about negative impacts on end users or the business.


So there you have it, a quick primer on rollback plans. Whether you’re launching a new product or service or making changes to an existing offering, having a rollback plan in place can help ensure things go smoothly. Now that you understand what a rollback plan is, how to develop one, and why they’re so important, you’re equipped to build your own. Start by identifying potential issues, determine solutions for each, outline the specific steps to implement those solutions, and practice the plan before the rollout. While no one anticipates needing to use a rollback plan, you’ll rest easier knowing you have one ready just in case. Rollout with confidence, but be prepared to rollback if necessary - that’s the key to success.

Keep your customers engaged. With release notes created straight from your Jira tickets.

Keep your customers engaged. With release notes created straight from your Jira tickets.

Keep your customers engaged. With release notes created straight from your Jira tickets.