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What Is Scrum Release Planning?

As any project manager knows, good planning is half the battle won! The old adage goes, ‘measure twice, cut once’—and this is a rule that doesn’t apply just to carpenters, but holds true for all projects, big and small. Just as the carpenter double checks on the accuracy of the measurements before cutting in order to reduce mistakes, a project manager who spends enough time on project planning can reduce risks, optimize resources and save time and money.A well formulated plan is critical to project success, and gives the much-needed context and direction to the progress of work. In Scrum, Release planning is an important event during which delivery schedules for the releases will be planned. Depending on the product complexity, some teams might choose to have a release after every sprint, while others will have a release after multiple sprints.In this blog, you’ll understand the reasoning behind Scrum Release Planning, learn how it's done and understand the various patterns of release planning.What is Scrum Release Planning?Every Scrum team must determine its own release cadence—that is, how frequently product increments of value will be delivered to the customer.  Release planning, as this is called, is usually done for a longer period, and answers questions like:Every Scrum team must determine its own release cadence—that is, how frequently product increments of value will be delivered to the customer.  Release planning, as this is called, is usually done for a longer period, and answers questions like: When will we be finished with the increment/product? How many and which features can I get out within a certain timeframe? How much is the expected cost? The purpose of release planning is to balance customer value and product quality against the three constraints of scope, schedule, and budget present in every project. It helps to come up with critical dates and milestones, and make plans for dependencies. Release planning comprises various activities: The release constraints of scope, date, and budget and taken into consideration, reviewed and updated. The PO carries out Product Backlog grooming and prioritizes the features For each feature, the Definition of Done is created and the minimum releasable features (MRFs) are reviewed and updated. A sprint map is created, ending with the sprint goal. The release can happen after one sprint or multiple sprints. Elements of a Product Release MapEvery step of a release plan is considered very carefully, discussed in depth and then outlined to create a high-level calendar and roadmap that is shared with the team. Release plans are flexible and each team will have their own ways of working out the timeframes. However, the typical elements include: All release(s) for the project and plans for each of the releases Upcoming iterations for the release(s) and iteration plans Considerations for feature development within an iteration Split up of the tasks required to complete and deliver a feature  In Agile, planning has to be flexible to accommodate changes. The planning is always iterative, and the team can course correct at intervals to factor in change. The release plan helps to keep the team focused on end goals, even if there are interim transitions that happen. Everyone stays focused with the detailed roadmap always in sight. Patterns of Release PlanningScrum offers teams the flexibility of deciding how often they wish to plan releases. For a simple project, the team could choose to have a release at the end of each sprint. For larger and more complex projects that have dependencies, it could be easier to club several sprints together into one release. Other teams might base their releases on the completion of features, and this process is termed ’continuous deployment’.  The release strategy could be driven by features and functionality, or by schedules based on dates, when the release happens as per a calendar.  For a release plan calculated based on features, the team velocity is the number of features that can be completed within one sprint. Once the velocity is known, the team can calculate approximately the number of sprints that will be needed to ship the final product. Source Link: innolution.comWhat is the Rationale behind Release Planning? Flexibility and the ability to embrace change is at the core of every Agile project. As changes can happen throughout the project journey, it could be reasoned that an Agile project can never be planned with as much accuracy as a traditional project.  Even if this is the case, by having a general schedule of releases made available to the team and all stakeholders, it becomes easier to get everyone on the same page and plan the work easily. Management and end users will know when to expect the product releases, and this atmosphere of transparency instils confidence and trust in the team. Here are some of the main reasons behind undertaking a Release Plan: It acts as a communication device. With a release calendar mapped out, teams know what is expected to be done and by when. It serves as a valuable planning tool. With a release plan, stakeholders can determine the value received against the cost incurred. It sets the cadence and content for the project and helps to steer it in the right direction. A well outlined release plan aligns the project progress with the product strategy and keeps teams on track with respect to time, cost and scope. Release Planning Example Release planning can be based on a fixed date (date-driven), or on a fixed scope (feature-driven). Some teams use the fixed scope approach and convert it into a number of smaller fixed-date releases.  Here is an example that follows the date-driven approach:Source link: paradigm.comIn this example, by multiplying the velocity by the total number of sprints we know how many items can be completed within the timeframe. This next example follows the feature-driven approach:Source Link: visual-paradigm.com Teams can decide the approach that works best for them, drawing from their past experience and exposure to both approaches.   A Last Word A release plan helps to give clarity on the project goals and direction and creates the required focus that informs and drives project progress. Especially in times of unprecedented change such as what is being experienced now, the lack of proper planning and poorly defined goals can lead to project failure. An Agile product manager who can nail the planning stage and pin down goals, strategies and visions is halfway to success —and a successful product release map is critical to this planning process! 
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What Is Scrum Release Planning?

Susan May
Blog
05th Oct, 2021
What Is Scrum Release Planning?

As any project manager knows, good planning is half the battle won! The old adage goes, ‘measure twice, cut once’—and this is a rule that doesn’t apply just to carpenters, but holds true for all projects, big and small. Just as the carpenter double checks on the accuracy of the measurements before cutting in order to reduce mistakes, a project manager who spends enough time on project planning can reduce risks, optimize resources and save time and money.

A well formulated plan is critical to project success, and gives the much-needed context and direction to the progress of work. In Scrum, Release planning is an important event during which delivery schedules for the releases will be planned. Depending on the product complexity, some teams might choose to have a release after every sprint, while others will have a release after multiple sprints.

In this blog, you’ll understand the reasoning behind Scrum Release Planning, learn how it's done and understand the various patterns of release planning.

What is Scrum Release Planning?

Every Scrum team must determine its own release cadence—that is, how frequently product increments of value will be delivered to the customer.  Release planning, as this is called, is usually done for a longer period, and answers questions like:

Every Scrum team must determine its own release cadence—that is, how frequently product increments of value will be delivered to the customer.  Release planning, as this is called, is usually done for a longer period, and answers questions like: 

  • When will we be finished with the increment/product? 
  • How many and which features can I get out within a certain timeframe? 
  • How much is the expected cost? 

The purpose of release planning is to balance customer value and product quality against the three constraints of scope, schedule, and budget present in every project.It helps to come up with critical dates and milestones, and make plans for dependencies. 

Release planning comprises various activities: 

  • The release constraints of scope, date, and budget and taken into consideration, reviewed and updated. 
  • The PO carries out Product Backlog grooming and prioritizes the features 
  • For each feature, the Definition of Done is created and the minimum releasable features (MRFs) are reviewed and updated. 
  • A sprint map is created, ending with the sprint goal. The release can happen after one sprint or multiple sprints. 

Elements of a Product Release Map

Every step of a release plan is considered very carefully, discussed in depth and then outlined to create a high-level calendar and roadmap that is shared with the team. 

Release plans are flexible and each team will have their own ways of working out the timeframes. However, the typical elements include: 

  • All release(s) for the project and plans for each of the releases 
  • Upcoming iterations for the release(s) and iteration plans 
  • Considerations for feature development within an iteration 
  • Split up of the tasks required to complete and deliver a feature 

 In Agileplanning has to be flexible to accommodate changes. The planning is always iterative, and the team can course correct at intervals to factor in change. The release plan helps to keep the team focused on end goals, even if there are interim transitions that happen. Everyone stays focused with the detailed roadmap always in sight. 

Patterns of Release Planning

Scrum offers teams the flexibility of deciding how often they wish to plan releases. For a simple project, the team could choose to have a release at the end of each sprint. For larger and more complex projects that have dependencies, it could be easier to club several sprints together into one release. 

Other teams might base their releases on the completion of features, and this process is termed ’continuous deployment’.  

The release strategy could be driven by features and functionality, or by schedules based on dates, when the release happens as per a calendar.  

For a release plan calculated based on features, the team velocity is the number of features that can be completed within one sprint. Once the velocity is known, the team can calculate approximately the number of sprints that will be needed to ship the final product. 

Source Link: innolution.com

What is the Rationale behind Release Planning? 

Flexibility and the ability to embrace change is at the core of every Agile project. As changes can happen throughout the project journey, it could be reasoned that an Agile project can never be planned with as much accuracy as a traditional project.  Even if this is the case, by having a general schedule of releases made available to the team and all stakeholders, it becomes easier to get everyone on the same page and plan the work easily. Management and end users will know when to expect the product releases, and this atmosphere of transparency instils confidence and trust in the team. 

Here are some of the main reasons behind undertaking a Release Plan: 

  1. It acts as a communication device. With a release calendar mapped out, teams know what is expected to be done and by when. 
  2. It serves as a valuable planning tool. 
  3. With a release plan, stakeholders can determine the value received against the cost incurred. 
  4. It sets the cadence and content for the project and helps to steer it in the right direction. 
  5. A well outlined release plan aligns the project progress with the product strategy and keeps teams on track with respect to time, cost and scope. 

Release Planning Example 

Release planning can be based on a fixed date (date-driven), or on a fixed scope (feature-driven). Some teams use the fixed scope approach and convert it into a number of smaller fixed-date releases.  

Here is an example that follows the date-driven approach:

Source link: paradigm.com

In this example, by multiplying the velocity by the total number of sprints we know how many items can be completed within the timeframe. 

This next example follows the feature-driven approach:

Source Link: visual-paradigm.com 

Teams can decide the approach that works best for them, drawing from their past experience and exposure to both approaches.  

 A Last Word 

A release plan helps to give clarity on the project goals and direction and creates the required focus that informs and drives project progress. Especially in times of unprecedented change such as what is being experienced now, the lack of proper planning and poorly defined goals can lead to project failure. An Agile product manager who can nail the planning stage and pin down goals, strategies and visions is halfway to success —and a successful product release map is critical to this planning process! 

Susan

Susan May

Writer, Developer, Explorer

Susan is a gamer, internet scholar and an entrepreneur, specialising in Big Data, Hadoop, Web Development and many other technologies. She is the author of several articles published on Zeolearn and KnowledgeHut blogs. She has gained a lot of experience by working as a freelancer and is now working as a trainer. As a developer, she has spoken at various international tech conferences around the globe about Big Data.


Website : https://www.zeolearn.com

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