Release Planning requires many voices.

Release Planning requires many voices.

Agile release plans communicate what and when the project is going to be delivered. The plan is a dynamic tool that reflects the business and technical environments. In order to create a release plan, the team and a range of stakeholders representing technology and business leadership need to be involved.

The typical Agile team is comprised of a scrum master or coach, a product owner and a development team. The development team includes all of the capabilities needed to deliver the work that is taken on by the team. Capabilities include skills of developing, testing, business analysis, architecture, design…and the list can go on forever. The point of view of the Agile team is constrained by the knowledge that they have to develop and deliver what they are being asked.

Business stakeholders bring the knowledge of the market and the organizations goals. They can and typically do include people from marketing, sales, manufacturing and customer service. The list of business stakeholders can be quite long, and most projects rely on the project sponsor to help constrain the list. Each stakeholder brings the point of view of his or her constituency to release planning.

Technology stakeholders bring knowledge of the organization’s technological goals to planning how the project will release. Technology stakeholders include those that speak for software and technological architectures (current and aspirational) and IT’s strategies for the balance between building and buying, networked or un-networked computing and in-sourced or out-sourced staffing. Strategies and architecture can influence what functionality will be delivered and when it can be delivered.

Each group of stakeholders represents a constituency that has needs that the functional and non-functional requirements that an IT project will attempt to deliver.  All of these needs must compete within the constraints of what can be done. The release plan reflects the current prioritization of the project’s needs based on the constraints and goals of the organization as represented by the projects stakeholders.