Agile Release Planning

With Jenny Stuart and Melvin Perez-Cedano

As teams become competent in the nuts and bolts of Scrum, they still need to answer questions like “What am I going to get?” and “When am I going to get it?” This course describes a lightweight seven-step process for doing effective—and appropriate—Agile planning at the release and project levels.

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Expectations about deliverables don’t disappear just because we’re using Agile development approaches. We need to deliver value repeatedly. But how do we choose from among our product backlog items to make sure we’re delivering that value? And how do we know how long it will take us to create each incremental release we envision? Finally, how do we communicate and monitor those releases?

This course describes a very specific, lightweight process for Agile release planning, beginning with “Step 1: Creating the Preliminary Product Backlog,” continuing with prioritization, decomposition, visualization, and estimation, and ending with “Step 6: Creating the Release Plan” and “Step 7: Tracking Progress.” You’ll learn an easily repeatable process for delivering value that will help your team work on the right things and prevent it from becoming a black box. The course also includes a “bonus” section covering multiteam release planning to help with release planning at scale.

Who Is This Course For?

This course is for developers using Agile methodologies who need to plan their work above the day or iteration levels in order to repeatedly and predictably deliver releases valuable to their customers.

Problems Addressed

Your instructors—Jenny Stuart and Melvin Perez-Cedano—have designed this course to help you deal with some critical yet very common software development problems. As consultants at Construx, they’ve developed solutions for hundreds of teams dealing with these issues:

  • Your team can’t see the big picture of what you’re building, how long it’s going to take, and how much it’s going to cost.
  • The wasted effort of building extraneous features is delaying the delivery of real value to your customers.
  • Your product’s technical dependencies are unclear and are limiting your team’s ability to maintain a sustainable pace.
  • Risks that could have been resolved or mitigated if they had been faced proactively are jeopardizing the project.
  • Poor coordination among the teams and individual contributors is leading to delays due to avoidable unavailability.


After completing this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Decompose big-picture items (features or capabilities) into actionable, prioritized backlog items
  • Estimate backlog items quickly and accurately (using t-shirt sizing, story point estimation, and other methods)
  • Identify and solve for technical and cross-team dependencies (using user story mapping)
  • Create a release plan
  • Track the release’s progress and forecast completion accurately

Key Topics

The Definition of “Done”; project dependency chart; identifying Minimum Viable Product; product backlog decomposition; T-shirt sizing; velocity-based estimation; user story mapping; sprint mapping; release burndown and release burnup charts; planning is still Agile; release plan inputs and outputs; acceptance criteria; product roadmap; affinity estimation; multi-level planning; cross-team dependencies; technical debt; managing functional and non-functional requirements; feature/benefit matrix; impact mapping; preliminary product backlog; eliminating stabilization phase; handling scope expansion; defining high-level product vision; story points.


Related Courses

For more on developing requirements in Agile scenarios such as Scrum, see Agile Requirements In Depth, which teaches you the following techniques: using the Agile Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), story mapping to define project scope, writing user stories, sizing stories (agile estimation), and developing acceptance criteria for user stories.

With sections designed specifically for the Scrum team and for the leadership team, Agile Planning and Estimation’s multiple-audience approach leads to improved communication to and from the engineering and business sides of the company. Both teams gain insights by seeing the bigger picture, including the planning and estimation techniques used by each team.

Resources: Practice papers, white papers, templates, slides
Items: 41 lessons, 8 Knowledge Checks
Duration: 2h 57m

Your Instructors

Jenny Stuart

Jenny Stuart
VP of Consulting

Melvin Perez

Melvin Perez-Cedano
Construx Senior Fellow


Getting Started
Step 1: Creating the Preliminary Product Backlog
Step 2: Prioritizing the Preliminary Product Backlog
Step 3: Decomposing High-Level PBIs
Step 4: Visualizing and Ordering the Release Backlog
Step 5: Estimating the Release Backlog
Step 6: Creating the Release Plan
Step 7: Tracking Progress
Release Planning at Scale

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