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Release planning

Release plans are a standard element of Agile ways of working. Instead of trying to develop a product as one large, complex project, the Agile methodologies suggest we break down the development process into stages, or releases. These are periods of time that focus on smaller parts of the product.

Working this way reduces the risk if we get it wrong. Releasing in stages, we’re able to change and adapt the product based on feedback we gather when sharing features and design aspects early - short, continuous feedback loops. Otherwise, we’d be pushing all the risk to the end of project, when it’s too late to make those changes.

The releases could be for a new product or service, or for new features or significant changes to a live product/service. A release plan may only by governed by the number of sprints required to complete a given increment of work.

A coordinated effort

Together, using the product backlog, a delivery manager, product team and stakeholders decide which versions and features get launched, and when. They plan the timings of each release using artefacts like the product alignment roadmap and strategy discussions to:

  • foresee potential obstacles such as timing conflicts between Shelter activities (for example, a planned release during the busy Christmas fundraising season)

  • understand how products and services connect to Shelter’s strategy

  • plan for potential capacity and resource needs

  • maximise the ROI - the sooner you can release, the sooner you can test for user value and business value

A key aim of release planning is to make sure the team can reduce risk and effectively gather user feedback with which to improve the product, make adjustments or add more features. This way, each release is a valuable, short feedback loop.

Read about approach to product planning

Learn about our two-pronged approach to roadmapping our work

Our digital glossary

Atlassian’s guide to Agile sprints

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