While some Scrum Teams have sophisticated CI/CD pipelines that enable continuous delivery of software, many teams are structured to deliver their work products in releases: accumulate enough business value to justify putting the software into production.
In this webinar, we shared some of the tips and skills that help teams create high-impact releases that mitigate risk and maximize value.
Top 3 Questions Asked
John Heintz: John Heintz is an innovation expert, Agile/Lean development expert, published author, international speaker, and consultant. John has been practicing agile since 1999, and helping organizations with large scale planning events since 2010. Large scale planning events like Release Planning bridge the gap between strategy and execution. In 2016 he co-founded Aptage, that provides sophisticated yet simple-to-use decision support AI tools for managing innovation and development in the face of uncertainty. Aptage uses advanced algorithms and machine learning to help companies make data-centric informed decisions when faced with economic, estimation, and delivery uncertainties.
Luke Hohmann: Luke Hohmann is the founder and CEO of Conteneo In.(formerly the Innovation Games Company). Conteneo's enterprise software platforms and professional services merge collaboration frameworks, data analytics, and domain expertise to help organizations optimize decision making in the areas of strategy, innovation, sales, product development, and market research. Luke is also co-founder of Every VoiceEngaged Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that helps citizens, governments, and other nonprofit organizations collaborate at scale to solve technical and wicked problems.
Question 1: In the release plan meeting, should we discuss epics, features, and stories?
Answer: YES! Product backlog items can be – and often are – larger than a sprint. You should get into the habit of continuously grooming the product backlog such that you are breaking down lager epics and features into stories. When you arrive at Release Planning, though, you will probably need to do some additional decomposition as you develop the plan with the teams. At the end of the day, your Release Plan will be at the sprint level so you will need to have sprint backlog items small enough to be completed in a sprint. Just remember to limit the discussion to the items that are in the time horizon of the release as defined by your roadmap. We covered Agile Roadmapping in this Collaboration at Scale webinar.
Answer: Release planning is a truly collaborative event and should include teams, managers, stakeholders, product owners, and product managers. Do the best you can - bring the people who provide value.
Answer: We know that teams estimate small items much more accurately than larger items. Accordingly, I strongly recommend that new teams without prior history use Planning Poker to establish estimates and then work as a team to decompose items until all items are estimated at 3 points or less. I realize this runs counter to much advice on how to estimate stories (e.g., stories of 5, 8, 13 or even 21 points are often considered acceptable).