Agile Software Development

What’s the Sane Level of Granularity You Need for a Release Plan?

Creating a release plan always raises this question—how detailed it has to be to move forward. To be honest, it should be enough to get you moving. In this article at, Scott Ambler discusses how much granularity you require for a release plan.

Detailing Efforts for a Release Plan

As per the granularity level decided by the team, the release plan includes details of the project going forward. While this helps you to prepare for the critical roadblocks, you do not want to waste time planning too ahead.

Understand the Context:

The most important part of the release plan is context. Change your plan accordingly to stay agile. Do not have rigid practices but stay flexible as per the situation. Find out the trade-offs of each shortlisted techniques. Select the best or a mix of multiple techniques based on the scenario, available skill sets, and work culture. Discuss with stakeholders the details all want to include in the release plan.

Decision Points and Detail Levels:

There are decision points for your release plan—source, scope, schedule, detail, schedule pace, estimate, estimation unit, capture. Primarily, you can make 4 types of release plan based on the detail levels:

  • Rolling Wave Level: For this type of release documentation, prioritize comprehensive details only for the incoming tasks. Meanwhile, keep the later release details high-level.
  • High-Level Plan: This plan has key milestones, phases, iterations, sprints, and dependencies. Instead of giving a granular description, it allows the team to own the tasks and work on them when necessary.
  • Detailed Information: Not only does this plan include every detail but also have a teammate assigned to each work. Your agile team has Sprint 0 at the beginning where they decide the plan details. They add more information as the project progresses.
  • No Plan: Release details are not documented even though the team plans it on the go.

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