Creating your release plan
We all know that management-led roadmapping can be a divided topic. Writing high-level deliverables with deadlines on a Gantt chart is rarely the best way to estimate what you can actually deliver and how long it may take. At Avion, we encourage you to create a realistic Release Plan that can inform your roadmap.
You can start this process by adding a release above the unplanned section. Let’s say we wanted to deliver a “Ratings & Reviews” feature at Airbnb. Releases are a horizontal slice that span the entire breadth of your product. Releases are going to allow us to plan lean but coherent features that are less likely to have feature or experience gaps for our customers.
Our initial version of ratings and reviews needs to allow buyers to see reviews on a property and also read the reviews policy from the main website. Actually, looking at this release makes me realise that we also need a way for sellers to approve and respond to reviews. Let’s add this into the release, as the team agrees that it’s essential.
Continue creating your releases like this and then drag them in order of importance. The top release should be the next release to work on and right at the bottom is all of our other unplanned work. Your Avion story map now reads as a release plan from top to bottom.
But more importantly, there are reasons behind the decisions to build features in the order you have defined and if the whole team was involved, everyone understands these reasons.
Once you have created your release with high-level stories, you can start ensuring that those stories meet your Definition of Ready. This is the time where you can start filling out story descriptions, adding Acceptance Criteria and sizing stories, ready for them to be picked up by the development team.
Next, let's see how to share this release plan with the wider team.