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Release on demand

Advanced

difficulty

Stage 5

Agile IQ® Level

Release Mgmt

Practices

DevOps

Framework

Introduction

The purpose of Release on Demand is to decouple Sprints and the end of Sprints from formal monthly or quarterly releases in order to:

  • Increase flexibility regarding when a release can and should occur.
  • Allow Product Owners to to assess the impact of the release before deploying functionality to customers.

 

The Role of the Product Owner

The Product Owner is accountable for maximising the value of the product resulting from the work of the agile team. This means being accountable for release management, release planning, and the roadmap for release of features.

This includes:

  • Understanding whether there are sufficient features to be of value to customers.
  • Assessing the impact of the change and release to business stakeholders.
  • Understanding the timing of a release in relation to other team, stakeholder and customer events.
  • Deciding whether to release or not.

When many teams coordinate their work in an Agile Release Train, it is the Product Manager who is accountable for making the decision whether to release or not, particularly with respect to larger Features.

Releases & the Product Roadmap

The Product Roadmap is the source of truth regarding forecasts of when there will be sufficient value to release. Product Owners should update the Roadmap as a team’s velocity changes over time.

Strategy

Key Document:

Product Roadmap

Key Questions

What strategies and initiatives are going to make the right impact for our business? What will deliver valued outcomes for customers?

  • Define problems.
  • Articulate the value, impact and outcome of potential solutions.
  • Define solutions by documenting Features and prioritising them by value.
  • Get buy-in from business stakeholders.
  • Develop solutions iteratively.

Execution

Key Document:

Release plan

Key Questions

How do we get the release out? How can we unblock any obstacles that come u along the way?

  • Plan Sprints at a high level on a quarterly cadence. 
  • Understand team capacity and load per quarter and update on a Sprint-to-Sprint basis.
  • Set up timelines and forecast release dates.
  • Use PO Sync to assess and adjust forecasts.

Release Events & PO Sync

Product Managers should integrate release governance with their Product Owner Sync (PO Sync) meetings and address the following questions with their Product Owners:

  • Is the Product Goal and vision still understood?
  • Are Agile Release Trains and their teams aligned for that purpose?
  • Does everyone understand what they are building?
  • Are Features aligned with the understanding of the purpose of the Value Stream?
  • Are Agile Release Trains tracking to the scheduled release dates?
  • Have Product Backlog items met the Definition of Done?
  • What impediments must be addressed to facilitate progress?

Sprint Review & Release Planning

Product Managers and Product Owners should assess impacts to the release plan and roadmap at Sprint Review, engaging teams and stakeholders on the following:

  • What changes and features are needed before we release?
  • Do the new changes mean the forecasts for releases are impacted?
  • Does the Roadmap need updating to reflect new information?
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