3 Types of Release Planning & Its Value For Your Business
Where does every new project trace its roots? Many developers think it all starts in the code – but the truth is that every new project is started with the idea how it can be released. What an endeavor it is!
In our present article we would like to discuss with you our vision of such stage of work as release planning – why is it worth practicing and implementing into every project work? We will consider its concept, types and stages and also we will give you some excellent tips how to get it right for your business.
Release planning basic principles
Let’s begin with one logical chain. The development of any project is a process with many its stages of work, and as the result it is usually the formation of a certain product ready for life and use. But all these development stages are not chaotic – they also have their intermediate goals that usually represent themselves as the creation of certain component parts of the project.
Release planning is a interesting activity that allows the development team to define the project objectives, both interim and final, and to develop their own release plan for every objective. Namely, throughout the planning process specialists single the aims, match the necessary tools and available resources, and divide the entire resulting volume of work into the calculated speed of their work. Therefore, such mathematics will give an approximate duration of work for one release.
Everything may look quite simple, but release planning has its own features and even required elements, as follows:
- release planning takes place at special meetings, where developers in tandem with project manager determine the future course of the project work. Such meeting can be on a scheduled basis or periodically – it all depends on the team’s preference;
- for every single release plan there is an user story – it is a kind of a list of wishes from the customer. Sometimes it is difficult to implement the whole user story into one release, and in this case the team solves such problem with tasks prioritization and highlighting the most significant features for its coming development;
- any release planning is usually connected with approximate data, including workscope, timeframes, velocity and other criteria, but in the last analysis all rough calculations should eventually become real data that is relied on both team members and the customer.
How it looks like: types of release plans
Now it is time to learn how the ordinary planning process goes on, what it includes and which types of it are usually used.
Type 1 – Initial (or preliminary ) release planning
This planning consists of several meetings, which are attended by all the specialists involved in the creation of the project. At this stage every team member already has some idea of the future product and everyone is quite responsible for giving an approximate evaluation of such data as:
- the number of main functions that are required for implementation in each of several sprints. It means that each release event has to be connected with the achievement of a specific goal and be an independent and fully functioning working part
- a set of techniques and tools to implement the planned things. Tasks and parts of the work are distributed among specialists with the necessary competence and appropriate experience. Thus, release planning is already distributed in an individual way
- the amount of time that is going to be spent on the work, including both some intermediate releases and the number of hours for the entire project.
It should be noted that all of estimations made at this stage are very approximate and may vary in different directions. Nevertheless, the initial definition of a certain work schedule is a useful practice and helps developers to ‘feel’ the future project better.
Type 2 – Continuous release planning
This type is case with the planning where are already previous releases, i. e., it is a process of planning for future reference, that may include:
- correcting of a previous working plan to meet new specification and recommendation from the stakeholders or the customer – every new thing requires its own needs, and it is unavoidable to make some changes in the plan
- planning the duration of one iteration (sprint) that causes the execution of the next part of the work. In the work on the project each stage differs from the other, and therefore planning each sprint separately is not a waste of time – it is a good tone for developers
- task priorities changes that can happen due to many reasons, including customer’s wishes or reassessment of real project needs for a particular release.
Practice shows that most development teams use this second type of release planning, because they have sufficient experience and approximate knowledge of the average timing of a particular feature.
Type 3 – Release planning with acceleration
In this case the planning goes at higher velocity – usually it happens from the need of increasing the pace of development, bug fixes and conducting necessary tests. It is not just a classical release planning: it is a set of measures and methods for painlessly increasing the speed of work, aimed at the timely release of the product or part of the work.
We would like to emphasize that every team uses its own project management methodologies, for example, Agile, Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean, Kanban or many others. And every system offers its own ways to improve the work processes and speed the whole workflow up.
Grandfatherly tips how to do release planning well
This paragraph has ambitions to teach you how to manage your release planning in most appropriate ways.
We know, tastes differ, but it is never too late to learn more and to add something new in your work, so there are our useful tips for you:
- When you are making the initial planning release, do not try to artificially reduce the amount of work. Such practice usually entails inescapable remedial activities and, as a result, failure of the deadlines for the completion of work – don’t do that at all!
- A couple more words about user stories: we would like to recommend you to train to create these wish-lists from customers: it is better to have some conversations and even live meetings where every part can discuss what they want to have and what they can offer to make.
- It is important to realize your release planning in such way: technical specialists think about technical decisions and business experts make their own suggestions – and then it all should be combined and compromised as well as it’s possible.
- Do not be afraid of schedule overrun – you need to be afraid of being unessential. Of course, it is better not to allow such cases in work, but everything can occur. It is important to be able to explain your customer in time why it happened and that it is to blame. Believe us, you will not fall in his eyes – you will probably look like a real professional, who is not afraid to admit some his mistakes.
Many things are learned with experience, but it is not superfluous to hedge and study some points in advance, and release planning is one of these things. Never stop learning to think over, making qualitative calculations, asking for advice from more experienced colleagues and never deviating from your plans – only in this way you can become a great professional and work not only as a developer, but also as a true performer.
If you have some brilliant ideas about your future products and you really want to implement it into life – do not hesitate to contact with our team, and we can help you with our advice from technical experts!