Release Planning

Purpose

To answer questions like:

  • How much will be done by September 30?
  • When can we ship with this set of features?
  • How many people or teams should be on this project?

Inputs

  • Velocity, i.e. the amount of work completed in a sprint
  • Prioritized product backlog

What’s a Good Plan?

A good plan is one that supports reliable decision-making.

Will go from:

  • We’ll be done in the fourth quarter
  • We’ll be done in November
  • We’ll be done on November 7th

What Makes Release Planning Agile?

  • It’s more focused on planning than on the plan
  • It encourages change
  • Planning results in a plan that’s easily changed
  • Planning is spread throughout the project lifecycle

Ranges

Whether fixed-scope or fixed-range, there’s a range between average and optimistic velocity. The Product Owner needs to also prioritize the range by scope or date — what’s more important in terms of business value: the date or the feature set?

Scope: ”By that date you’ll have all of these features and some of these.”

Date: ”It will take us between 6 and 8 iterations to deliver all of those features.”

Maintaining the Release Plan

  • Revisit the release plan at the end of every iteration
  • Update it based on:
  • Current understanding of velocity
  • Current prioritization of the product backlog

This should be a very short and simple process.