For many of our users who use ‘SCRUM’, or ‘SCRUMBAN’ (a combination of SCRUM and Kanban), the ‘Release Planning’ capability can help the team to plan releases perfectly in an easy-to-use drag-drop interface. The teams can define the Release capacity and track the release progress with the built-in visual indicators.
If you have created a product backlog, just drag and drop the cards in the release, depending on the priority and how many story points totally need to go in a release. You can even increase or reduce the scope of the release, as required, by editing the release.
You can directly push the cards onto the board after scoping it for the release, and need not go to the Kanban Board to pull them.
Note 1: The Release Planning feature can be enabled from ‘Plug-ins’ page.
Note 2: No Release can be created and tracked for a Closed Board.
To define a release:
1. Go to your board and click Release from the breadcrumb menu.
2. In the List of releases page, click Add new release. Enter the Name, Start Date, Release Date and Release Capacity (In StoryPoints, ToDo’s or any other UOM defined in the enterprise).
Note: Release name is Mandatory.
The Release screen is divided into two columns: Release Scope and Not in Release
Release Scope is further divided into three Columns: To Do, Doing, and Done.
- To Do: Contain cards that are in Ready and Backlog column type.
- Doing: Contain cards that are in In-Progress and Completed column type.
- Done: Contain cards in Done and Archived column type.
Not in Release is further divided into two sub-columns that are Backlog Cards and Board Cards.
- Backlog Cards: Contain cards in the backlog.
- Board Cards: Contains cards on that Kanban board.
3. Drag cards from Not in Release column and drop under Release Scope column. The cards you drop into the release bucket will be associated with the release.
- Before you pick up the cards in the column (indicated by a green Status line), you can run through the Card Title and the estimate, or click the card title link to view its details and return to the Release page.
- To locate the card, you may scroll within the column by clicking the page numbers below or clicking first previous, next and last links. To limit the cards in the view, set the card count in the right corner, for example, 25 cards on a page.
- To filter the columns to view specific cards, click the Open Filter on the top left. Type the search string in the filter text boxes or select value(s) from the drop-down list.
- To remove a card added to the Release scope, drag and drop the card back into Not in Release column. Doing this will disassociate the card from the release but still keep the card active on the board.
4. The list of all releases is displayed along with the details i.e. release dates, card count, progress, and capacity planned. A release created will be available for selection (unless a release is closed) in the ‘Release’ list in the Edit Card pop-up on the board and the Detail View of the card, from where you can associate a card to any other the release.
Note: The UOM for Estimate is StoryPoints by default. You can change the UOM to ToDo’s through the drop-down on the list of releases screen.
To view the cards scoped in the past releases, click the release row and to hide, click it again.
- The number of cards scoped in the release is indicated by the Card Count displayed for the newly added release.
- The Progress bar (green band) for the release indicates the release progress, which shows a percentage of cards archived over the total cards scoped, based on card count. For example, the progress bar in the image below shows 80%.
- The Release capacity indicator denotes to what extent the release is booked (the green band in the capacity bar) or under-booked (white band in the capacity bar). The bar completely in red indicates that the release is overbooked. On hovering on the Capacity bar, you can view the capacity booking in the percentage that is the sum of estimates of cards scoped in the release over the capacity entered.
5. To re-scope, the release, double-click it and drag and drop cards to their respective columns. To go to the Detail view of the release to add comments or upload, download, or delete attachments, click the More Details link.You can expand or collapse the Release Scope and Not in Release columns by clicking the minus/plus on the extreme right of the column respectively.
To share the release across other boards click the share icon, and then select the boards that you want to share with. Once the release has been shared, it appears on the Release drop-down attribute of any card across those shared boards.
Note 1: A release cannot be shared with a closed Board. When you click the Share Release icon from a Release, the closed Board is not shown on the Board list. Read here if you are interested to know more about the Closed Board.
Note 2: A shared release can be edited only from the board where it was originally created. When you access the release from a board to which the release is shared, the Edit release icon is grayed out. To add a card to the shared release from any other board, navigate to the Kanban board and open the detailed card view, and select the shared release from the Release drop-down.
To delete a release from the enterprise permanently, click the Delete icon for the required release.
Executing Cards from the Release Scope
After you have defined the scope of the release, you can push the cards directly from the Release Scope.
When you are viewing or editing a release, you can click the Add to Board icon on the card added into the Release Scope. The Add to Board icon will be available for cards in the backlog only.
On clicking, it shows up lanes and its columns. Click the required lane and its respective column to which you want to move the card.
After adding the card, it will no longer show the Add to Board icon for that card, indicating that the card is already added to the board.
If you don’t want a release to be available for tagging cards to it, you can close i.e. inactivate the release. To close a release, click the Close icon on the extreme right of the toolbar for the specific release.
When you are adding or editing a card on the board or from its detail view, the release drop-down will not show the release anymore.
If you want to activate a closed release again, click the Open icon for it.
For SCRUM practitioners, SwiftKanban provides the Release Burndown chart for the team to track its progress against a release plan in their daily scrum meetings. Burndown charts that can be tracked for any board containing tasks with estimates and actual effort, is a graphical representation of outstanding work (or backlog) against time. It is useful for predicting when all the work scoped in the release plan will be completed.
Note: The UOM for burndown chart will be StoryPoints by default. It can be changed to ToDo’s through the Estimate drop-down.
To-Do owners should enter the To-Do Estimates, Actual Effort, and Remaining Effort on a daily basis to track the progress of the Release in the Burndown chart. You can enable the Time-Tracking Plug-in to enter effort on To-Dos. Effectively, you can see some meaningful data generated on the Burndown Charts. See Logging Effort for To-Dos help for details on how team members can log effort for To-Dos.
To view the Burndown chart for a release:
- Select Release from the Selected Board breadcrumb menu.
- Expand the required release by clicking the release row and click the Charts icon for the release. The Burndown chart is displayed below showing how remaining effort comes to ‘0’, which also is a burn-up chart if you track the progress of Actual Effort.
- Click the Close icon to close the chart.
- Interpret the Actual, Planned, and Remaining values in hours only as team members will be entering daily effort in hours.
- The Release Burndown chart plots the sum of all Daily Remaining Effort (that the To-Do owners enter for cards scoped in the release) on the Y-axis against the dates on the X-axis (from the release start date through the release end date). The burndown slope is the red line indicating the remaining hours as the release moves through the end date.
- The Release Burnup line (in blue) is plotted for the sum of all Daily Actual Effort (that the To-Do owners enter for the cards scoped in the release) on the Y-axis against the dates on the X-axis (from the release start date through the release end date).
- The chart also shows a green line indicating the planned slope i.e. how the cards should have been completed through the release ideally. It is the sum of remaining effort for To-Dos of cards on the release start date through the release end date closing at ‘0’.
You can filter the Burndown chart to view it for specific card types. Click the Filter icon on the chart toolbar. The filter will apply even for export in MS Excel format.
Release Burndown Export
The Release Burndown can be exported in MS Excel format, along with the Burndown data.
Click the Export icon on the chart toolbar at the top-right.
You can open the file in MS Excel or your preferred spreadsheet application. You can click the Filter icon to export the chart and burndown data for specific card types.