Step-by-Step Process for Release Planning and Release Level Retrospectives

In the session two processes will be explained viz. Release Planning and the Release Level Retro. Step by Step approach will be discussed so that the same can be readily used in your Agile Projects.

I have created these approaches of conducting effective Release Planning and Release Retrospectives in Agile projects. I have used these processes in various successful Agile projects.

 

Note: Please refer to the Links section below to see the steps invoved in both of these processes.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • Share the Agenda
  • Explain the need of Release Planning and Release Retro
  • Explain the step-by-step process for Release Planning and Release Retro
  • Share the examples
  • Q&A
  • Reflect/Feedback

Learning Outcome

Participants will learn refined Release Planning Process and Release Retro Process. And the format would be shared with the participants to be used in their respective projects.

Target Audience

Agile Practitioners

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Amit Sharma
    By Amit Sharma  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks for such meaningful information and session.

     

  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Would you be sharing some real-life implementation experiences on this?

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Tathagat,

      Yes I would be sharing the real-life experiences (a quick brief) at the end of the session. Many thanks!

      Regards,

      Ankush

  • Ram Srinivasan
    By Ram Srinivasan  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Ankush,

    Other than facilitating a release planning session, what is unique about this session? What is that which this session addresses which is not addressed by our industry currently?

     

    Thanks,

    Ram

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ram,

      Thank you for your question.


      I have created the step-by-step processes to facilitate the Release Planning ad Release Retro sessions. And used the same in various different types of projects (with various teams, geographies/countries, domains, team sizes, etc.) and kept improving the same.

      I don’t think we have any readymade Agenda available to conduct these sessions; even ScrumAlliance does not talk about it (esp. in CSM course). I have done ACP certification as well, there was no mention of the same, instead of just talking about need of Release Planning and some more details.

      These processes have been reviewed and liked by various global Agile practitioner/coaches. Since I have also seen the results using these processes, I am confident that participant would really like these processes and would use them in their respective agile projects.

      Would be happy to comment further if you have more questions.
       
      Regards,
      Ankush

      • Ankush Sabharwal
        By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Doc!

        I have removed some duplicate comments. One I could not do that as it had some replies, it seems that if a comment has replies we cannot delete the same.

        Regards,

        Ankush

  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Ankush,
    Given the amount of time (45 minutes) and your templates - would the session predominantly be going through the templates? Are there any particular parts of your template that you find have more confusion and need more elaboration than others?

    Best,
    Joel

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Also, I will be elaborating on new important steps in Release Planning viz. Velocity Estimation and Calibration.

      "Calibration" here I mean reviewing the sizes - firstly team would review stories worth 2 story point at once, then 3 story points worth stories and so on. This will given team an opportunity to see if all the related stories (of same story points) are really of same sizes or not....just to make sure we have not sized any story incorrectly earlier. Then we can also review some samples of stories of differnent sizes like (1,1,2,2,3) (2,2,3,5,5) etc etc.

       

      "Velocity estimate" where team will be asked to analyze stories and comeup with the list of stories which they think can achieve in a sprint, without looking at the story points. However, ScrumMaster would still count the story points of the virtually committed stories, we can repeat the process with different stories until we get some sense of the estimated velocity or we can average the velocity of the samples. So that we can comeup with the number of sprints required tentatively to achieve mmf and/or complete scope. And, we would keep revising the release plan (w.r.t. Scope, no. of sprints required) based on the actual velocity.

       

      Thanks,

      Ankush

      • Doc Norton
        By Doc Norton  ~  3 years ago
        reply Reply

        Ankush:

        It appears you have copied/pasted the same answer multiple times in response to inquiries from reviewers. Perhaps it would be good to add these details to the actual narrative so that people don't have to review all the comments to get a comprehensive view of your session.

        - Doc

         

        • Ankush Sabharwal
          By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
          reply Reply

          Thanks Doc!

          I have removed some duplicate comments. One I could not do that as it had some replies, it seems that if a comment has replies we cannot delete the same.

          Regards,

          Ankush

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel,
      Yes, I am planning to go through the templates, describe each step and provide the examples. And in the end, I would also talk about the type of real projects where I have used these templates, with the outcome.
      Please let me know, if you have any suggestions to make the session more effective.
      Thanks,
      Ankush

  • Sachin goel
    By Sachin goel  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi - I am curious if you have taken this session previously and share some feedback? Release being such an integral part, what will be new learnings from this session? Curious to know.

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Thanks Sachin for your comments on my proposal!

      Here I would be trying to share my experience of condcting efficient and effective release plannign and release level retro sessions. I have used the same in various different types of Agile projects in distributed environment. And yes, I did get positive feedbacks about the sessions I have conducted so far. Seeing the success of my projects, I am sure the same templates would work with some tweakings in any Agile project. Woule be happy to answer your further queries on this, if any. Thanks a lot!

      Cheers,
      Ankush

  • Sonik Chopra
    By Sonik Chopra  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Ankush, I am sure this topic will be of good interest to our participants. I've just few questions. Are you planning to cover different ways to perform release planning, something as coached by Mike Cohn? And will you also cover the estimation aspects of release planning?

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Sonik,

      Sorry for the delay in my reply. First of all let me thank you for showing interest in my proposal.

      Yes estimation would also be one of the steps in the release planning, but I would not be covering how to size (that probably should be another session, if there are any questions around this I will try to provide quick answer). However, sizing calibration and finding velocity estimate would be covered in detailed (that would give some sense to particaipants who are new to agile sizing).

      "Calibration" here I mean reviewing the sizes - firstly team would review stories worth 2 story point at once, then 3 story points worth stories and so on. This will given team an opportunity to see if all the related stories (of same story points) are really of same sizes or not....just to make sure we have not sized any story incorrectly earlier. Then we can also review some samples of stories of differnent sizes like (1,1,2,2,3) (2,2,3,5,5) etc etc.

       

      "Velocity estimate" where team will be asked to analyze stories and comeup with the list of stories which they think can achieve in a sprint, without looking at the story points. However, ScrumMaster would still count the story points of the virtually committed stories, we can repeat the process with different stories until we get some sense of the estimated velocity or we can average the velocity of the samples. So that we can comeup with the number of sprints required tentatively to achieve mmf and/or complete scope. And, we would keep revising the release plan (w.r.t. Scope, no. of sprints required) based on the actual velocity.

      But, I think my session would be best utilized by the Agile Practitioners who are already working in Agile projects.

      Please let me know, if you have any further quesitons. Thanks!

      Regards,

      Ankush

  • Joel Tosi
    By Joel Tosi  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Ankush,

       Thanks for providing all of the comments, it helps greatly. 

     

    My concerns for this session, if I am reading it right, is that it is heavy on the estimate side of things.  While you are not covering estimating, the calibration feels like it is an added investment in estimates where there might already be enough / too much.   I am not trying to make this 'anti-estimate' by any means, I'm just concerned of the value of trying to make estimates better, fit better.  I hope that makes sense.  What are your thoughts on this?

     

    Could you also expand some on the release retros? 

     

    Best,

    Joel

    • Ankush Sabharwal
      By Ankush Sabharwal  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Joel, thanks for getting back to me!

      Yes I do understand your concerns regarding the estimates...Here is my take, please advise...

      Spending more time in estimation during release planning is considered as overhead/costly as the estimates are still estimates not the exact figures. However, I think since in most of the projects we have to come up with the ideal release path (and to find out approx how many iterations/sprints would be required to achieve the scope and/or MMF), we have to attempt coming up with better estimates of story sizes and the velocity. If we know the total scope (in story points) of the release/project and we know the target velocity, we would be able to calculate the tentative number of sprints required. However, we would definitely keep revisiting this plan after knowing the actual velocity and the revised sizes, sprint after sprint.

      Trust me, Calibration and finding Target velocity does not take much time during the Release Planning, It is just the sampling we need to do, we have done in less than half a day (< 3-4hrs) in most of the projects.

      And in the session, I would not be doing the same, I would just me explaining the process - why and how to do it; which would not take more time.

      Please refer to link for the complete steps (without explanation/examples which I will be discussing during the session): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CooqBf9LEZ4ZfNUAgnuMNQULu5Z07pKQORWmleRabAw/edit?usp=drive_web).

      Please let me know if you have any questions regarding any of the steps mentioned in the process.

      And about the Release Retro....we found the process (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1se7Guc62OuMTxe2djLm2XDp8RtLkltcXWSMKFmEUNcQ/edit?usp=drive_web) very interesting and team does come up with the better suggestions for the next release based on the lessons learned from the current release. The questionnaire I have prepared compels people to have deep insight into the project and articulate their thoughts better. If you want I can tell you the type of actual suggestions came up from some of my projects where I used this release retro process. Also, I got very good feedback from the teams with whom we executed this process. 

      Thanks a lot!

      Cheers,
      Ankush


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    What is the standard approach when you feel tired and find it difficult to concentrate? Take some coffee (but latest research shows that coffee depletes the brain activity, even when body has more energy), take some sweets (but sugar ends quickly and gives even more exhaustion to the body)? These widely used strategies generally do not work, and in long-term even add harm to the body and brain.


    The willpower is not endless (so-called muscle theory of willpower), it can be saved, it can be trained, there are approaches how to keep the willpower level high. To keep the willpower (and thus, productivity) on the high level, people should know and use different approaches that lay in the field on the social and cognitive science.


    There are a lot of evidences that SCRUM improves the developer’s productivity in terms of speed of development, code quality, and accuracy of design. Unfortunately mainly all recommendations from SCRUM coaches look like “believe me, if you do this, you will have better velocity”. Yes, it works. But why does it work?


    Sometimes SCRUM does not give such great results even when main elements are in place. The question “Why” and “What makes the difference” is here again.


    I will describe the model of relationship between the willpower related brain metabolism on very low level (specific amino acid cycle) and the SCRUM practices. I can prove that SCRUM addresses the productivity of the people’s brain using 3 different flows simultaneously. There are several tips that make these productivity flows working or not. You can make Agile productive, you can have non-productive Agile. I will show you where the difference is.


    Overall there are 10 productivity tips that can be put into 3 flows.


    As the outcome of this session, Agile coaches, and all people who can change the process (in fact that is any team member) will review their SCRUM: does the way they have it improve the productivity or they are losing all the power? The changes are cheap, the outcome can be huge.

  • Liked Naresh Jain
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    SAMPLE PROPOSAL - Product Discovery Workshop

    Naresh Jain
    Naresh Jain
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    90 mins
    Tutorial
    Beginner

    Many product companies struggle with a big challenge: how to identify a Minimal Viable Product that will let them quickly validate their product hypothesis?

    Teams that share the product vision and agree on priorities for features are able to move faster and more effectively.

    During this workshop, we’ll take a hypothetical product and coach you on how to effectively come up with an evolutionary roadmap for your product.

    This 90 mins workshop teaches you how to collaborate on the vision of the product and create a Product Backlog, a User Story map and a pragmatic Release Plan.

    This is a sample proposal to demonstrate how your proposal can look on this submission system.

  • Liked Johannes Brodwall
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    Bare-Knuckle Web Development

    Johannes Brodwall
    Johannes Brodwall
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Can you go faster with less weight?

    We have all learned the benefit of reusing application servers like JBoss, ORMs like NHibernate or dependency injection frameworks like Spring that "solve all the plumbing code for you", but how real are these benefits really? Most developers struggle using techniques like test-driven development and refactoring effectively in their day to day project. Many developers spend a majority of their day finding out which magic incantations will make your framework solve your requirement.

    Yes, frameworks probably will reduce the size of your code base. But will their reduce the time it takes to develop that code base? And perhaps even more pressingly: How certain are your estimates when you know that a the majority of your work is to find out exactly which few lines of code you need to change by debugging, reading documentation and searching for answers on stack overflow?

    When I was first learning math, my dad told me that I didn't to use a calculator before I could do the math without it. In the same tradition, this talk builds on the premise that you shouldn't use a framework that you can't do without: I will create, live, a realistic web application without generators, without frameworks and without bullshit. Instead, I will use test-driven development to ensure steady progress to a solution with no magic.

  • Liked Natalie Warnert
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    Confessions of a New ScrumMaster

    Natalie Warnert
    Natalie Warnert
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 mins
    Workshop
    Beginner

    So, you just got out of your CSM class, overflowing with your newfound Scrum knowledge and renewed faith in software development practices. You're ecstatic to share your new view of the world and show how Agile can benefit your organization, and you can't wait to get started. But, in your first Agile project, you meet resistance, opposition, and worst of all, modified Scrum practices. What's a ScrumMaster to do?

    Don't lose hope! You're definitely not the first ScrumMaster to meet these barriers, and you're not alone. I've encountered these situations in projects and have some tips to make the transition to Scrum easier on the team, the leadership, and you. Learn to overcome these problems in this interactive workshop and you become a better ScrumMaster and will help lead the team to the high performance you know they're capable of!

  • Liked Neil Killick
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    The Guessing Game - Alternatives to Agile Estimation

    Neil Killick
    Neil Killick
    schedule 3 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 mins
    Talk
    Intermediate

    Agile promotes empiricism and change, yet many practitioners continue to scope out and estimate delivery times and costs for software products and projects.

    Defenders of the art of estimation claim that we need to estimate software projects in order to answer common business and customer questions such as:

    • Should we go ahead with this project? (go/no-go)
    • How much will it cost? (bottom line)
    • When will it be done? (predictability)
    • Should we do project B instead of A? (prioritisation)

    This session challenges participants to flip these questions on their heads and seek alternatives to estimation rituals. It covers the many risks inherent with an estimation culture and demonstrates real, practical alternatives, both at the portfolio and the sprint level.