In CRM 2011, you may include Plugin assemblies and steps in a solution. Then you can export the solution from one environment and import into other environments. If you run into a problem telling you that the import of the plugins failed, you might want to look into your permissions.
I ran into the problem last week, I thought I don’t need the Deployment Manager permission in this version, so I was wrong. In order to import the plugins, you need to have “CRM System Administrator” and “Deployment Manager” permission.
I hope this helps you if you run into the same problem.