Just Launched! — The Perfect Release Planning Template for Product Managers

You know that feeling when you are running late? Someone is waiting for you and you just cannot get there on time. You feel anxious. I bet your friend will let it slide a time or two — but customers are not so forgiving.

As a product manager, you need to be the reliable one. You need to do your best to keep the team on time. This is where a release plan comes in — it brings consistency to the planning process and keeps the team focused on what needs to get done.

We are excited to announce an improvement to how you can do your planning in Aha! You can now build dependencies and set the timing between phases and milestones directly in your release templates. These will be used every time you create a new release to bring consistency to how you work.

This is an important addition because most releases have critical dependencies and timing. It is all part of working on a sophisticated product and team. For example, UX needs to be finished before a feature can be fully developed, and development must be near completion before testing by the team can begin.

This latest update brings all your planning together in one place. Aha! release templates already allowed you to automatically create phases and key milestones when a new release was created. And now that you can add dependencies to the timing between phases and milestones, it is easier to streamline each launch. 

Here is how you can create a template to reuse for every release and improve your planning process:

Create one plan for the product team
Align and motivate cross-functional teams such as design, engineering, marketing, sales, and support through a predictable release plan — ensuring that there are no surprises. By collaborating closely with the team responsible for each phase of the release, you can create one plan that accurately reflects the full scope of work.

If plans change, you can create new phases and milestones, set additional dependencies, and shift dates right on the releases roadmap. 

Highlight dependencies
Establish relationships in your release template to manage key milestones and phases that need to be completed before the next phase can begin. For example, if the date of your design review slips, the impact is obvious — then when you update it, subsequent activities like development will automatically be pushed out and stay aligned. This helps to keep everyone in sync and up-to-date.

You can customize your releases roadmap color by status, assignee, or type.

Optimize timing between phases
To ensure everything is ready to go, plan your schedule to bring the product team in at the perfect time. Here you can see the team plans to begin reviewing the release a few days before the QA phase finishes. When creating your templates, you can set relative dates between phases so precise timing is now built into your plans.

Setting “Days after last phase” for each release phase or milestone will automatically set the schedule when the template is applied. 

Customizing a template is easy
We worked hard to simplify the process and make it easy to set up a sophisticated release template. As you create your template, you can set the number of days in between phases and add dependencies at the same time. Then when the template is applied to your next release, the phases and milestones will be laid out exactly as you have defined them. And the dependencies will be automatically created too.

Product owners can create or edit release templates by navigating to Settings > Product > Release Phases and Milestones. 

When it comes to releasing a product, relying on hope is not an effective game plan.

Aha! release templates are the new way to stay disciplined when launching new product — improving the way you set release plans and work with cross-functional teams. Ultimately, the updated templates will reduce the time you spend building releases and keep you on track. So you and your team will be more in control — even if you are still scrambling to hit your launch date.

Sign up for a free Aha! trial — be happy
Release templates are available to all Aha! customers. If you are not already an Aha! customer, you may want to sign up for a free 30-day trial of Aha! now to see why over 100,000 users trust Aha! to set product strategy, create visual roadmaps, and prioritize releases and features.

About Jessica and Aha!

Jessica is passionate about showing product managers there is a better way. She is the Product Marketing Manager at Aha! - the world’s #1 product roadmap software. Previously she led product at YouEarnedIt, a top five employee engagement platform. Before that she was a product marketing manager at several business-to-business SaaS companies.

Sign up for a free trial of Aha! and see why 100,000 users at the world’s leading product and engineering teams trust Aha! to build brilliant product strategy and visual roadmaps.

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Comments

  1. David

    We don’t currently use releases like this because we iterate repeatedly. This makes the more linear views less practical as many items may be happening in parallel and/or are repeated some undetermined amount of times. This view doesn’t help convey that in any real sense so we skip it. Are there any plans or suggestions on how we might leverage releases for our scenario?

    Reply
  2. Michael Schmitz

    This is a nice addition, but I’m surprised that you didn’t make it possible to tie to-do due dates into the phases and milestones. Right now, the release template can include to-dos on a phase or milestone, but when you instantiate a release based on the template, all the to-dos have blank due dates. Seems obvious to me that if you’re trying to release features to help organize complex releases, that you’d allow task management to function appropriately.

    Reply

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