Release Planning for Scrum Masters

Although flexibility and adaptability are part and parcel of the agile values and principles, this does not mean that no planning is required when following the Scrum framework. In fact, there are a number of different levels of planning that need to be undertaken when taking this approach.

One of the fundamental concepts of Scrum is to have regular iterations, or sprints, and to produce a ‘potentially shippable increment’ by the end of each sprint. However, releases do not necessarily need to be tied in with the timing of the Scrum cycle. On the contrary, releases can and should be planned separately from the sprint itself, as the ideal time to release a feature or fix might not match the cyclic nature of the sprint.

Why do we need Release Planning?

When agile is first introduced into a company, some stakeholders may be wary and uncomfortable because of the shift away from defining all deliverables up front and in detail before development starts. With agile release planning, all the parties involved get together and decide what the priorities are and what the team should be focusing on for the upcoming period. At this point, requirements are only specified at a high level and will be refined later during the sprint planning process. As a result, there is no effort wasted on defining requirements that may end up being de-prioritized because items of greater value have been chosen for delivery.

In addition, the iterative nature of Scrum means that the release plan is constantly being refined and validated, and therefore the contents of the release will always reflect the most up to date information on what is most valuable to the company. Release planning allows the team to clarify what they are able to commit to within a release and ensures that there are no nasty surprises for the stakeholders when the delivery date is in sight.

Major Releases

Teams that have adopted Scrum are likely to have also reached an agreement with management and customers about how often a bundle of changes will be grouped together and released into production. This would normally mean having a given number of sprints and then delivering a release each time a set of sprints is completed. It makes sense for features to be assembled and delivered together in this way because a regular pattern will then be established. This is especially useful when there is integration with work being done by other scrum teams, which will require tasks and activities to be scheduled outside of the Scrum team.

Minor Releases

Occasionally situations will arise where changes need to be applied outside of the regular release cycle. This could happen for a number of reasons, such as a malfunction that needs to be addressed quickly and cannot wait till the next release, or a sudden change to legislation that requires an immediate software update. In these cases, the value of having a distinction between release planning and sprint planning becomes more evident, as the team will already be equipped to handle and accommodate the unforeseen requirement.

The ‘Agile Scrum Master Training Course With 59 Seconds Training‘ is now available for free. This free Scrum Master Certified Online Training Course provides an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Master roles and responsibilities, where you find out what a Scrum Master does and how to do it. During this free course you will learn all of the tools needed to succeed as an Agile Scrum Master.

Thank you for choosing us to learn about the Agile Scrum Framework.

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Our Book Recommendations

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

Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Master With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

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Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Master With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)

What is this course?

This ‘Master of Agile – Agile Scrum Master With 59 Seconds Agile (Video Training Course)’ provides an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Master roles and responsibilities

You will explore the Agile Scrum project life-cycle, including how an Agile User Story is created, to how we know when it is ‘done’

This course is aimed at those with or without prior knowledge and experience of the Agile values and principles

During this course you will learn the tools needed to succeed as an Agile Scrum Master

What will you learn?

You will gain an in-depth understanding of the Agile Scrum Master roles and responsibilities, and you will be able to

  • Fully understand the role of the Agile Scrum Master
  • Understand the roles involved in an Agile project
  • Create an effective Product Backlog
  • Effectively participate in Scrum Meetings such as the Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review and Retrospective
  • Identify the roles involves in the Scrum Team

What topics are covered within this course?

You will cover the following topics during this course:

  1. An Introduction to Agile Project Management (Scrum Master)
  2. Using the Agile Manifesto to Deliver Change (Scrum Master)
  3. The 12 Agile Principles (Scrum Master)
  4. The Agile Fundamentals (Scrum Master)
  5. Introduction to Scrum (Scrum Master)
  6. Scrum Projects (Scrum Master)
  7. Scrum Project Roles (Scrum Master)
  8. Scrum in Projects, Programs & Portfolios (Scrum Master)
  9. How to Manage an Agile Project (Scrum Master)
  10. Leadership Styles (Scrum Master)
  11. The Agile Project Life-cycle (Scrum Master)
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