How to do Agile Release planning

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Why do we need Agile release planning?

The purpose of Agile Release Planning is to ensure the product is always moving in the right direction and that logical releases are frequently happening.

In addition everything would always go according to a plan but in practical world, you will face quite a bit of unexpected situations and challenges. Same will apply for product release in typical project execution.

Development teams and project managers know just how important it is to stay on top of customer deliverables and the number of sprints it takes to see product launch. So, it is very important to have a plan to release the product to customer with in the time line after handling various challenges across the product delivery.

What is Agile release planning?

Agile Release planning is a technique to deliver the product vision and road map with in a given time line with highest quality. It always encourages to ship the product in increments and address the challenges in iteration manner which can help to mitigate any design and architectural challenges.

Release plan will have various components such as features, milestones, scope, guidelines, check list, besides this it has resources that can help scrum team to identify the impediments, blockers. This also accommodates the customer feedback.

Release plan is an excellent tool to communicate the progress with cross functional teams, stake holders that ensuring aligned expectations with respect to product development.

Release Planning approach

When is Agile release planning done?

Release planning is done after you have outlined your product vision and roadmap. Since the focus of Scrum is on shorter sprints, some teams actually work without release planning at all. In addition, they just release the product increment.

That keeps the focus on speed and adapting to the stakeholder needs at any moment.

Who is involved in release plan?

Scrum master, product owner , agile team and stake holders are part of this plan. Having synergy between these members will help to create a transparent release plan.

What do we need for release plan?

  • Expand and prioritize your product backlog based on these outcomes.
  • Evaluate your product vision and roadmap and single out outcome.
  • Team capability and capacity.
  • Set a clear release goal that combines logical product backlog items
  • Previous iterations or release planning results and Key Metrics like Velocity, bug density.
  • Break your releases down into multiple sprints or iterations.
  • Lessons learned from previous sprints.

Agile release planning Output

Approval procedures : Firstly, Stakeholders and business sign off with appropriate acceptance criteria.

Dates of proposed releases : A fixed date approach to release planning in which the date and budget are fixed but the scope is flexible. And most importantly the highest priority features are being developed for instance and completed first. Any features that don’t make it to the first release are less valuable, which makes it easier to release the product as scheduled

Incremental release plan : On the other hand Agile release planning is a product management method where you plan incremental releases of a product. It differs from traditional software planning where you will focus on major releases by preparing for staged releases and then breakdown into multiple sprints or iterations.

Feature or functionality development : Feature that needs to be completed and to be deployed within the respective release cycle.

Best practices for Agile release planning include:

  • Establishing measurable goals that describe the outcomes or benefits your product should create.
  • Get rough and high-level estimates from the Development team and determine the work to be done
  • Estimating the labor cost required by considering your team members’ availability and abilities .
  • Understanding and working within your constraints, taking note of any hard deadlines or budget limitations.
  • Monitoring progress from sprint to sprint and making adjustments as needed
  • Making data-driven decisions based on actionable feedback
  • Setting clear expectations between invested stakeholders and the development team
  • Scheduling regular road-mapping sessions as part of your sprint review meetings
  • Updating relevant stakeholders
  • Ensuring your release plans align with your product roadmap to provide continuity of purpose
  • Ensuring that each release builds on the one before.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Agile release planning is the antidote to aimless development. You can give your stakeholders exactly what they want, without inconveniencing existing customers.

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