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Milestones and Releases

  • 1.  Milestones and Releases

    Posted 2 days ago
    I have read the documentation on Milestones and Release.

    I am have trouble visualizing how Milestones and releases are releated.   In my mind I think that a release should consist of a bunch of milestones.   I am not sure why I can not add Milestones as artifacts to a release.

    I am also not sure why Test Cases are associated to Milestones, but not releases in the out of the box rally.

    Can someone please enlighten me.

    Is there an intuitive way to make a set of milestones a release?


  • 2.  RE: Milestones and Releases

    Broadcom Employee
    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi Raphael.

    Thank you for your question. It may be a bit too long to reply in full here, though I'll try.

    First, I'd like to refer you to our documentation page relating to timeboxes. I would recommend you go over this page as well as the bottom links for each time box.

    To answer your question:
    Rally offers 3 timeboxes: Milestones, Releases and Iterations. They are not hierarchical, there isn't an 'inclusion' association between them. So, releases are not part of milestones and milestones are not part of releases. These timexboxes serve different purposes and don't have to align. If they align it will usually be by their date range and/or by project association.

    The smaller timeboxes are releases and iterations. Both of them "belong" to a project, that means you associate them with only one project (or team), you also set their start and end dates.

    A milestone is a larger timebox which is usually set by the business. It represents a business goal and aligns multiple projects (or teams).

    From a timeline perspective a milestone is a much larger time range and there will usually be a number of releases that go by in that same time range. Still, there is no inclusion or association between them and they don't have to align by their dates (despite that it would make sense they will).

    In your question you're asking if there's an intuitive way to make a set of milestones a release. As you see - not only there isn't but if anything it is the other way around where a number of releases will make a milestone. The smallest timebox is Iteration and though it is not included in a release, you can associate a work item (such as user story or defect) to both an iteration and a release.

    Please let us know if that helped and if further questions.


  • 3.  RE: Milestones and Releases

    Broadcom Employee
    Posted 2 days ago
    Hello @Raphael Nash,

    +1 to everything @Sagi Gabay wrote. I thought to also add in some links to other sources of information to help explain Release vs. Milestone. Rally was purpose built for scaled agile from the start so the Timebox terms of Iteration, Release and Milestone are defined by the scaled agile frameworks.

    • Timeboxes are used as a planning tool. Time boxing work and small batches are practices of lean-agile product development. So, a Release is a planning time box. It does is not meant to related (or equate) to the actual physical deployment or release of software in an environment - that is governed by your CI/CD pipeline, solution architecture, and market factors etc.
    • Releases are a bigger planning timebox than the Iteration/Sprint timebox as Sagi detailed. Ideally the Release and Iteration (Sprints) timeboxes are aligned and you take advantage of the principles of cadence and synchronization. Go here for more information: https://www.scaledagileframework.com/apply-cadence-synchronize-with-cross-domain-planning/
    • Milestones are a different way of planning/managing work. A milestone is an event/date that represents a deadline, and that you plan/execute towards. Think investment milestone, deployment milestone etc. The scaled agile framework has some guidance on Milestones too. Milestones can be broad or different scope (team, program or portfolio) etc.  
    • The combination of these timeboxes can be very effective. Rally will help you manage the work flow across these timeboxes and apply the best practices to manage flow. If you'd like to learn more about the use of Cumulative Flow Diagram or Burn Up charts to effectively manage a Milestone or Release or Iteration please just ask. These are the only charts you need to manage flow appropriately and meet the objectives of a Timebox.
    • We do think best practice is to have an enterprise wide Release and Iteration calendar. Cadence and Synchronization is very powerful from a planning (not a release/deployment) perspective; it minimize the level of effort to coordinate work or align teams etc.
    • Test Sets [some referred to as Test Suites] are scheduled in Release/Iteration timeboxes; run to validate the work that is completed during a day, Iteration, or Release. 
    • I've never associated Test Cases directly to a Milestone but I know what functionality you are referencing. I will do some testing/research and provide an update on that specific functionality.
    I hope this helps in combination with Sagi's response too.