PMBOK Guide Edition 6 was the first time PMI talked about Agile Release Planning. From PG-KA mapping point of view, Agile Release Planning is basically a tool and technique in the Develop Schedule Process.
To understand Agile Release Planning, let’s take an example of an e-commerce website. As part of your project, you need to deliver this website. So there are two ways of doing this,
- The traditional approach of planning the entire project through the respective phases of requirements gathering, designing, coding, testing and deployment. Basically, plan the work and work the plan.
- The other approach is delivering in smaller ‘shippable’ parts instead of planning the whole product upfront. This is more of an agile approach. You might recall two things here,
Agile Release Planning is about the second way of delivering projects. Every time you deliver a shippable part of the website, you are basically doing a release.
Agile teams basically have a cadence or a timebox that they use for delivery. For example, there could be a 3 months cadence for an agile release. Within this 3 months release cadence, there can be multiple iterations. Each iteration, let’s say 2 weeks, contains user stories. This is done by mapping the effort estimates of the user stories to the upcoming iteration. The project team (or the Product Owner to be precise) has the ability or reprioritize user stories based on the value to be delivered.
Refer to the image below for more details,
So in conclusion, the agile release planning basically provides a high level timeline of the release schedule. This is based on the product vision or the product roadmap and its evolution. Note that the number of iterations or sprints and their timebox can vary based on estimates or the value to be delivered.
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