Skip to main content

Release Planning Techniques

Forecasting provides information required for release planning. Similar to forecasting techniques, there are release planning techniques that Scrum Teams can use that are complementary to Scrum. There are benefits and challenges with each. What is important is that the team focuses their conversations and plans on what they are trying to achieve with each release. They should start with the Why? and considering the Evidence-Based Management concept of Unrealized Value, which is the “satisfaction gap” between the outcomes that customers currently experience and the outcomes that they would like to experience.

 

How will this release help the team satisfy the satisfaction gap that customers currently have?

Release Planning Questions to Explore

Most people consider release planning as merely a tally and forecast of when certain Product Backlogs items could be delivered. However, Scrum Teams can use release planning in a way that focuses on delivering value to customers effectively by also exploring questions such as:

  • What are we trying to achieve with each release? What customer and user outcomes are we aiming for?
  • What features might fulfill those outcomes that we should include (and which ones should we not include)?
  • What is our forecast? When should/ can we release what? 
  • What will we measure to validate the value of the release?
  • Are our stakeholders and customers able and ready to adopt the changes we want to release?
  • Are there any dependencies we need to take in consideration?
  • What potential obstacles could delay our release?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • Is everyone, including stakeholders, on the same page?
  • How do we communicate/ manage expectations? 

Story Mapping

User Story Mapping is a technique developed by Jeff Patton that is described in his book, User Story Mapping: Discover the Whole Story, Build the Right Product. A Scrum Team can use story mapping to develop a multidimensional view of their Product Backlog as it links together a user’s journey using a product, the work that is required to satisfy these activities and how those user stories can fit into Sprints and releases.

Learn more about how to use Story Mapping for your Product Releases.

Road Mapping

Roadmaps are a technique that Scrum Teams use for planning releases. For roadmaps to be useful for a Scrum Team, they should be incomplete, allowing the Product Owner to make decisions as the team adapts to what they learn from each release. 

Image
sample incomplete roadmap

 

The roadmap then serves as a flexible tool to discuss vision, goals, strategies and opportunities instead of a fixed list of work for x amount of time. You can consider a roadmap to be an agile anti-pattern or a trap when it is used merely as a different visualization of a project or program plan.

 


Resources:

Blog Post
Release Planning As a Product Owner, you are responsible for managing expectations of customers, users and other stakeholders. You are also responsible for Product Backlog Management, for deciding that to built when and what not to built. Also, you'll need to decide what to deliver (release) to cus...
4.5 from 165 ratings
Learning Series
This learning series discusses the importance of developing and delivering valuable product Increments in order to improve the outcomes that its users and customers experience. Scrum Teams deliver product Increments and measure the results to understand what customers want or need.
Blog Post
One of the elements of the Product Wall is the Roadmap. Often misused to create a yearly plan to stick to, Roadmaps are pretty different. Let's dive in!
5 from 6 ratings

 

Blog Post
A roadmap is a complementary practice that a Scrum Team might use to forecast upcoming deliveries or to translate Product Backlog items into a visual representation. This article includes a few Roadmap templates for Product Owners to use to communicate their forecast to customers and stakeholders. ...
5 from 2 ratings

 

 

 


 


What did you think about this content?


Included In

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.