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release planning



Here is a typical sequence for release planning:

- Introductions - name, role, expectations, concerns
- Vision - sponsor speaks. Elevator Pitch. Product Box. 
- Problem statement - Why build it: what problem are we solving
- Business case - What are the business drivers, business case, expected benefits
- Scope - High Level Scope - In/Out/Undecided
- Key trade-off policies:  time vs cost vs scope vs quality vs ux
- Schedule expectations / Important dates
- Project context – departments, 3rd parties
- Customer & UX - Who are we building for: who are the customers, users, user roles, their needs and goals review any UX prototypes. paper prototyping. Review As-Is systems and identify pain points and opportunities.
- Build the product backlog - capture and agree the product features using task mapping or process flows. Create initial high level “epics” as minimal marketable features.
- Solution design - high level architecture and estimation assumptions
- Team – team size, roles, responsibilities
- Approach - methods, policies, values, principles.
- Sizing - Establish high level estimates for each “epic” - relative "points" estimation
- Calibration - Costing & Resourcing - forecasting development capacity
- Prioritisation - Prioritise the initial release product backlog features - define the first release as a minimal viable product. Consider story mapping or buy a feature techniques. Create a release roadmap.
- Presentation -  present outputs to the wider stakeholders - consider collecting and summarising the outputs as a single “project inception” slide deck

Some guidelines:
- Focus on establishing clear shared understanding across the whole team
- Co-locate the whole team for the initial project kickoff especially for distributed/offshore projects
- Include all departments and all roles -  operations, developers, sales, support, business,  BA, QAs
- Consider conducting a series of workshops (“kick off”, “estimation” & “release planning”)
- Use an experienced facilitator
- Use visual models: whiteboard sketches, paper prototypes, flipcharts, card sorting, story mapping.
- Do “just enough” to get the next release defined:  days not weeks.
- Use time between workshops to resolve outstanding questions, do technical research
- Capture the outputs - take photos of all the workshop outputs / whiteboards

Subpages (1): sponsor speaks
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