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Introduction to Forecasting and Release Planning

Forecasting

A forecast is a prognosis or estimate of future events*, trends, or outcomes. It is made based on known information and analysis of past and present conditions. 

In product development, forecasting is commonly used for Release Planning to create alignment and to manage expectations for everyone involved on when new products or new features will be delivered. 

A Scrum Team can forecast the delivery of Product Backlog Items (PBIs) based on their trends and history if they seek insight into when work may be completed on the Product Backlog. However, it is important to know that their forecast is by no means a commitment or guarantee due to the complex nature of their work.
 

*definition from Oxford Languages Dictionary

Release Planning

A product release is when a team delivers a new or updated experience to their customer in order to gain feedback and deliver value.

Scrum Teams can use release planning as a guide for delivering a product through small incremental and frequent releases rather than big bang product launches. The benefits for planning and carrying out frequent small releases are:

  • Opportunities for faster user feedback, learning and course correction 
  • Reduced risk: potential issues are caught earlier
  • Improved focus and transparency on progress toward goals
  • Increased effectiveness 

Keep in mind that when a Scrum Team uses practices such as continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment, they can deliver to customers at any point in time. This allows them to release several times during a Sprint, or even several times a day. In this case, release planning involves shorter-term plans and the team must validate that the product Increments they are delivering are actually delivering value, while focusing on what their next experiments will be.

 


Resources:

Learning Series
The Product Backlog represents all of the work the Scrum Team knows it needs to do in order to deliver the product. Teams can use the Product Backlog to make decisions about what they should do next. Learn about the Product Backlog, Product Goal, Product Backlog items and Product Backlog refinement.
Module
IntroductionThe primary purpose of Continuous Delivery is to enable organizations to deliver any type of changes such as new features, configuration changes, bug fixes and experiments into production or in the hands of the users in a safe, rapid and sustainable way through the automation and streaml...
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Learning Series
Scrum Team can use forecasting and release planning as a guide for delivering a product through small incremental and frequent releases rather than big bang product launches.