Manage your releases with phases and milestones (including dependencies)

A lot hinges on getting products out the door and being in sync with the rest of the non-technical organization. Whether we want to admit it or not, release planning impacts the whole business. Well managed releases depend on efficient team collaboration. At their best, they can create thought-leadership, excite customers, and motivate the team.

Regardless of which development methodology you use, you must plan for what and when the team will deliver. Dates still matter for nearly every team.

The Aha! Releases > Overview page allows teams to plan the different phases and milestones to manage each release. Phases and milestones are meant to manage the success of the release, not the feature workflow. If you want a more complete template, including features and dependencies, you can copy an existing release. This article shares both options. 

Create one or more custom release phase and milestone templates

This can be done in Settings > Product > Release phases and milestones.

Create one or more release templates to include phases and milestones appropriate for different types of releases (e.g. SaaS vs. on-premise, beta vs. GA, major vs. minor releases). As you add each phase and milestone, the template is saved in real time so that when you're done, you can go back to your releases and add a new one. While creating phases and milestones for your template you can also add To-dos which allow you to ensure the various cross functional tasks defined throughout your template are easily repeatable with each new release.

When you add new releases, you can choose from the following release phase template options:

  • Default - a simple template provided by Aha! to help get you started
  • A custom template - any template that you created for the product line or product
  • No template - choose to create a release and enter all of the phases and milestones manually

Once a template is added, you can always add or remove phases and milestones according to the unique needs of a release. Simply select the release to bring out the release detail slider (or go to Releases Detail). To remove phases or milestones hover over the desired one and click the x to the right. To add, click the Add Phase or Add Milestone buttons. These can also be easily renamed. 

Phase and milestone dependencies

Even in the most agile places, there are times when one activity can't start until the proceeding one ends. For example, I probably should not send out my press release announcing a new product until the new product's website is live. We support end-to-start dependencies between phases and milestones (in the same product). This has the added benefit that if you have dependent phases or milestones and move the parent, the children will move as well.

You can establish dependencies easily by mousing over a phase, clicking the ball icon that appears, and dragging it to the phase you want to create a dependency with.

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Copy an existing release to a new release

When creating a new release, there are instances where it is desirable to copy all phases, milestones, features, dependencies and to-dos from an existing release. Choosing to copy a release differs from selecting a "release phase template" for a new release in that a copy already includes the features and dependencies. 

This option is most applicable for companies that reuse a set of features that represent work that needs to get done as part of every release. A common practice is to create a release to serve as a template that contains not only phases, milestones, and dependencies but also a company standard set of release/launch "work tasks" modeled as features. 

Upon creating a new release, you can choose to "create new release" or "copy existing release". The existing release can come from any product and across product lines. 

 

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