Release Planning for Scrum Masters – Part 2

Role of the Scrum Master

While the Scrum Master is the person who will be driving the release planning, it is actually the team as a whole that creates the release plan. The Scrum Master’s job will involve setting up and facilitating the release planning meeting, working with the Product Owner beforehand to make sure that the product backlog is in a sufficiently well-defined state, and then subsequently keeping track of progress and ensuring that the release plan is constantly kept up to date to maintain visibility.

Agile Release Plan vs Traditional Project Plan

The agile release plan is nowhere near as detailed and complex as a traditional project plan. In Scrum, the release plan is intended to give a high-level outline of what will be included in a particular release. It does not contain any of the complicated interdependencies that would be found in a Gantt chart, for instance. One of the benefits of an agile release plan over the traditional project plan is that there is less risk of completing less valuable features and later finding that there is not enough time or budget left to finish the more valuable features. The Scrum process ensures that the highest priority items are always being worked on and completed first and that the resulting release is delivering maximum benefit to its users.

59 Seconds Agile - Release Planning
59 Seconds Agile – Release Planning

Advantages of Agile Release Planning

In summary, the agile release plan provides a roadmap and gives a common vision of what the team is aiming to achieve. It enhances agility by allowing the team to adapt over time as new information is received, and it helps to resolve conflicts by making it clear what the priorities are. The increased transparency and visibility, along with better collaboration, encourages the early raising of issues and results in the improved ability to respond and resolve them before they become bigger problems. By allowing stakeholders to take preventative action, this, in turn, mitigates the risk of release failure. Over time, the process will increase efficiency and boost productivity, and it will result in a higher throughput and accelerated time to value ratio.

Our Favourite Agile Books

We found these books great for finding out more information on Agile Scrum:

How to Plan a Release

In order to plan the release, it is necessary for the Product Backlog to be fully prioritized and estimated, and to know the velocity of the team. This allows the Scrum Master to determine how much scope the team will be able to deliver within the given time frame if the release is being scheduled for a specific date, or when the release can be delivered if it is the scope that is fixed. During the initial release planning meeting, after the list of prioritized changes has been presented, the higher priority items are mapped roughly into the sprint or sprints. This plan is only intended as a starting point, and it should be continuously corrected if it is running over several sprints.

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