One of the key processes of agile is to plan the releases. What is a release?. By release we mean releasing an increment of the product to the customer. Unlike the big bang releases at the end of the project, agile projects promote interim releases to the customer. The benefits of making interim releases to the customer are;
- Early feedback
- Faster Return on Investment (ROI) for the customer, because they will be able to start using the product much earlier
If we are applying predictive project management to a house, the owner will get the completed house towards the end of the project. If we follow agile project management, then there are possibilities of;
- Completing one bedroom, bathroom and kitchen first so that the owner can move into the house quickly thus saving the rents. This can be the first priority. The first release will to achieve this goal.
- The next priority can be to complete the remaining rooms.
- The next priority can be the exterior.
Release planning is the process of finalizing the releases to the customer, and then prioritizing the features and iterations leading to the release.
Key steps of release planning
- Group the features in the product backlog based on themes. For example the themes of a online store could be;
- Payment processing
- Inventory management
- Point Of Sales (POS)
- Financial accounting
- Online store etc
- Features are grouped into themes
- Within themes, features are ordered as must have, should have and nice to have
- Based on this a minimum viable product is identified with just enough features which is good enough for the customer to start using the system.
- Based on this sprints / iterations are decided
- A series of sprints will end up in a release to the customer. Even though we do sprint review meetings at the end of every sprint, we do not make a release.
- A series of releases will complete the product