Manage your cross-product portfolio roadmap with master releases

Do you manage a suite of products that are often released on the same date? If so, you may benefit from using a master release. In some cases, you may have multiple releases in parallel for the same product, although this is less common. You need a way for several product teams to work independently; at the same time, you also need the ability to create a visual roadmap that represents this combined delivery. 

Master releases are product line level releases designed to allow teams across multiple products to coordinate on a single, cross-product go-to-market. They function as a container release for product level sub-releases. 

They are used in a few common situations:

  • Organizations practicing SAFe that are looking to coordinate a cross-product release train
  • Organizations looking to standardize the release process across teams, such as a monthly cadence
  • Organizations looking to coordinate a cross-product launch for a major event, such as an upcoming trade show

A master release contains phases and milestones representing the combined delivery steps. It also contains sub-releases, which are releases at the product level. Master releases do not contain features — the sub-releases at the product level contain the feature content.

It's important to understand when to create and when not to create a master release. It can be tempting to divide Aha! products into components based on how your team's development resources work, and then use a master release to represent the actual go-to-market product release. This will lead to undue overhead and should be avoided. For more help determining how to set up your product and product line structure, read "What's your product and how should you think about it?" Once you decide how to set up your product, if you do need to manage components, you can do so through the use of custom fields

Add a master release

  1. To add a master release, make sure a product line has been selected in your product navigation menu next to the home icon.
  2. Click the Add master release button along the top of the screen.


Note: If you do not see the Add master release button, you are most likely navigated to a product, not a product line. Product lines will show up as bold text in your navigation, similar to how Fredwin Software is displayed in the above screenshot.

Add sub-releases

A product level release associated with a master release is known as a sub-release.

When you create a master release, you can choose to automatically add a new sub-release to child products, add existing releases as sub-releases once the master release is created, or do some combination of both.

If you choose to create new sub-releases, they will inherit their names and release dates from the parent master release. If you attach an existing release, the sub-release will retain the name, but the release date will change to match the master release. You can always rename sub-releases later.

To add existing releases to the master release, simply go to Releases > Details or bring out the master release details and click Attach Existing Release.


Visualize the master release

Once you create a master release, you can visualize it and its sub-releases on the Releases > Overview page and the Reports > Features page. The Reports > Features page is the recommended view to share a visual roadmap of your master release, sub-releases, and the features you wish to highlight.

You can customize what shows by adding releases to the timeline and clicking the X if you do not want to show a sub-release as part of a master release. Then, filter and/or check and uncheck features to focus on only those features that matter most. See "Create a features roadmap" for more on the Reports > Features page. 


Note: Releases associated with a master release will only display on the features roadmap if the master release is also selected to be displayed.

Master releases across product lines

A master release is created at a product line level. It can only contain sub-releases belonging to products that are the product line's children.

This guarantees that a user with the ability to view a master release can also view all of the sub-releases under that master release. 

However, the master release can be associated with any level in the product line hierarchy. So, if you have (or add) another product line grouping together with other product lines, you can have a master release that spans all of your products.

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