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Projects-to-Products: The Value of Releases

By Brian Nathanson posted Oct 17, 2019 10:50 AM

If the goal of products is to deliver business value, then recognizing that value once it is delivered is important. You may call them launches instead of releases, but an event to recognize new value that the product offers is often required for products to be successful.

This is not synonymous with "releases" from a DevOps perspective. Code can be released constantly into production; that doesn't mean we celebrate or communicate every code deployment. Once enough value has gathered over a period of time (typically a quarter or longer for enterprise software; possibly less if you produce value more quickly), a release event should be held to communicate to the customer audience that new value has been delivered and is available.

The release event mainly fulfills a psychological need. Most customers (internal or external) only use a small portion of the functionality of a product and also do not pay close attention to broader changes to the products they use because those products are only a small part of the scope of their work/items that call for their attention each day. Obviously, there may be a few *power* users that notice changes if they are deployed; the release event is primarily for everyone else.

To summarize, a release event:
  • Occurs at a specific point in time, usually on a regular frequency
  • Encompasses all the value elements since the last event
  • Allows the audience a chance to become familiar with & appreciate the value being delivered
Does your organization hold release/launch events for your products? Internal and external both? Did I miss anything in the discussion? Fill me in through the comments.