Steps: Create a Version Plan


  1. Prepare for Version Release Planning
  2. Run the Version Release Planning Meeting
  3. Communicate and Update the Tracking Date

Prepare for Version Release Planning

Agile Release Manager:

  1. Create a report or list in the tracker that filters epics by the field you use to designate the “minimally releasable product”—everything that absolutely must be in the next major version of the project—showing both:
    • MRP
    • Extra
  2. Negotiate a deadline by which the Release Planners will draft all of the epics desired for the version.
    Notes: Remind them:

    • How to label the epic as part of the MRP or an “Extra.”
    • That only the “story statement” is required for this purpose, and only MRP epics.
  3. After the deadline, add any business requirement epics you think are missing.
  4. Schedule a meeting of the Release Planners and the POs to revise the list, as soon as most are available after the deadline.
  5. If the program has been through three Planning Releases, determine or update the “Epic Velocity”—the number of epics the program reliably delivers in a release.

Details: “Create a Version Backlog.”

Run the Version Release Planning Meeting

Agile Release Manager, during the meeting:

  1. Show the Version Backlog.
  2. If you have an epic velocity:
    1. Count the number of “MRP” epics.
    2. Add 20% to that number.
    3. Divide the total by the epic velocity and round up to find the number of Planning Releases required.
    4. Skip to Step 4.
  3. Otherwise, help attendees:
    1. Estimate the number of calendar months required to deliver that total number of epics, assuming “normal” problems and that the teams remain 100% on the current project.
    2. If the teams are doing multiple projects, multiply the number of months times the fraction of time currently spent on other projects and support work, and round up.
      Example: For a project taking 40% of the teams’ time and an Ideal Estimate of eight months:
      8 + (0.6 x 8) = 8 + 4.8 = 12.8 (rounded up to 13)
    3. Divide the result from “a” or “b” by the number of months in your release cycle, and round up.
      Example: For quarterly Planning Releases:
      13 ÷ 4 (per year) = 3.25 (rounded up to 4).
  4. Identify the Planning Release in which the new version work is likely to start.
  5. Count the required number of Planning Releases after that start date, including that first one.
  6. Identify the last Planning Release’s ending date—this becomes the “Tracking Date.”
  7. Continue to the next set.

Details: “Estimate the Sprints.”

Communicate and Update the Tracking Date

Agile Release Manager, after the meeting:

  1. Communicate the epics, Tracking Date, and Agile reminders just as you do for each Release Plan.
    Note: See example e-mail under “Communicate the Release Plan.”
  2. Set an action item for the end of each Planning Release covered by the Version Release to do the next step.
  3. Validate the Tracking Date after each Planning Release, and communicate an update per Step 1 if progress indicates an additional release will be needed.

Details: “Estimate the Sprints.”

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