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Effective Release Planning

Release planning is the process of determining what releases are planned, how they relate to one another, what they are based on, and what they will contain. You know the drill. But you also know that plans change and the expectations of a few months or even weeks ago frequently do not match the realities of today.

How do you keep your plan up-to-date? How do you communicate the plan and any plan changes? And what about documenting what actually happened? After all, patch releases are (or should be) based on existing real releases. Will anyone read the plan?

If your plan is a written document, then the answers to the above questions are likely to depress you. Few will take the time to read such docs. And understandably so, with all the pressures to get more done in less time. And if no one will read it, where is the motivation and value of updating it?

We propose an alternative which is simple to create, easy to update and, even more important, easy and quick for the whole team to understand.

The alternative to the written planning document is a SnapshotCM release graph, an example of which is shown here:

Release Planning Diagram

Historical, completed releases are shown in blue on the left, while releases in progress whether patches, incremental features, major features, parallel investigations, or simply future plans all can be easily represented, as can their relationships. And the instant data tips (one shown above) provide a fast way to communicate high-level plans with each release.

Users can quickly grasp where their efforts fit into the big picture, and the graph serves as an effective means of communication and documentation. And because it is used every day, it is always up-to-date.

If you are not using SnapshotCM's release graph, we hope we've given you a glimpse of what you're missing.

To see SnapshotCM in operation, get a free SnapshotCM evaluation at