Skip to main content

How to plan a feature release as a Product Owner in an Agile team?

[PLACEHOLDER]

One of the questions that are often presented to a Product Owner is “When will a feature XYZ be ready for the customer?”. In this article I will walk through the process of planning and estimating a feature release in an Agile software development process. 

Let’s assume the Agile team is working on a customer lifecycle management product. The next increment for the product is to support a new communication channel like SMS. The business stakeholders identified this feature as a key differentiator from the competitors. According to the business stakeholders the release of this feature is time sensitive and consequently they would like to know when the feature will be available for the customers. This time-to-market information will be used to plan marketing campaigns to create awareness of the feature. Therefore as a Product Owner it's very important to plan and estimate a new feature. The following three steps outlines how a product feature release can be planned and estimated: 


Step 1: Identify the user stories to complete the feature
The Product Owner and the scrum team must brainstorm the user stories to complete the feature. At the end of this process the Product Owner must have a set of clearly defined user stories in the product backlog. Given that the feature is of high priority these user stories must be stacked at the top of the prioritized product backlog. This will ensure that the Scrum team creates the Sprint backlog with the user stories related with the new feature. 

The Product Owner must also collaborate with the Scrum team to estimate the level of effort required to complete each user story. The level of effort can be captured as story points.

The screen shot below describes how the user stories related to the feature is prioritized in the product backlog.

story-backlog-flow
by Beolle.com


Step 2: Use feature release map to plan and estimate
Let’s assume the Scrum team works in a 2 week sprint and can deliver on average 15 story points per sprint (this is also known as sprint velocity).  The Product Owner can map the user stories from the prioritized product backlog as shown below to estimate the number of sprints it may take to complete the feature. The screen shot below describes how the prioritized user stories can be mapped onto future sprints to estimate the feature release. In the example below the Product Owner can estimate 3 sprints (i.e. 6 weeks) to deliver the new communication channel feature.  

sprint-points
by Beolle.com

Step 3: Maintain the feature release map
The Product Owner must update the feature release map at the end of each sprint to reflect any changes to the prioritized product backlog. This may be necessary if the scrum team discovers new information that may result in additional user stories. The Product Owner can then use the feature release map to check the status of the feature development. The feature release map can also be used to collaborate with the scrum team to identify creative approaches to meet the estimated feature release timeline.

In conclusion a feature release map is a very helpful tool for a Product Owner to plan, estimate and manage a new feature release. The map can be created using easily available tools like Microsoft Word, Visio, Lucidchart, etc. However there are dedicated tools like FeatureMap that can also be used to map user stories.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Image credit:
The thumbnail image of this article is by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Trending posts

What it means to be product led

Many successful organizations including Miro, Figma, Spotify, Atlassian are using products as vehicles to drive customer acquisition and growth. These organizations use their products at the centre of their strategy to win customers and retain them.    Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán via Pexels If you use any of these tools you are aware of the free trials and freemium versions of these products. These organizations use free versions to generate prospects, drive adoption and convert to paying customers. These organizations are always customer focused and drive to provide friction-less customer experience.  Recently I learned about the inner workings of these organizations by taking the course from Mind your Product and Pendo . Currently the course is available for free and I recommend signing up for the course while the offer is available. Please find the details at the end of the post.  I found the course very insightful and I summarized three (3) key pillars of being a product led organ

The Creative Process

By: Herak Sikder I still remember the day I watched “ Finding Nemo ” for the first time. I was feeling bored and wanted to watch something to pass my time. I assumed Finding Nemo to be one of those animated movies that you just watch once and then forget. But soon after I started watching the movie I was totally absorbed by its storyline. It almost felt like I was watching a real life story unfolding in front of my eyes and all the characters seemed to come alive. That was the first time I experienced the movie making magic of Pixar and till this date Pixar movies have not failed to amaze me whether it’s Toy Story, Cars, Monsters Inc., Ratatouille, Up, Wall-e and many more. So I was really excited when I found out that ED Catmull , one of the cofounders of Pixar released his book. I picked up the book from Indigo upon it’s release and I was wasn’t disappointed. Ed tackles a lot of common issues that plagues successful organizations as they expand fast and lose their innov

Designing Habit Forming Mobile Application

Mobile Applications have become an integral part of our daily lives - we use mobile apps as alarm clocks to wake us up in the morning, to create to do lists when we start our day, to communicate with our colleagues at work via apps like Skype. We even check reviews of restaurants to visit on apps like Yelp and we seek entertainment on apps like Netflix and spotify. So what drives us to use these apps so seamlessly in our daily lives? Why we prefer some apps over others? Is there a science behind designing successful mobile apps like Facebook?  Photo by Peter C from Pexels A study in US revealed that a user between the age of 18 and 44 visits the Facebook app on average 14 times a day [1]. This shows that using the Facebook app is a daily routine for many of its users. This makes Facebook a great example of a habit forming mobile app which is designed with human psychology in mind that encourages habit forming behavior in its users .   I recently attended a seminar on the de

DIGITAL STRATEGY NOT A SEPARATE EXERCISE

Driving Digital Strategy The book " Driving Digital Strategy ", by Sunil Gupta , came at the right time as I have been studying many aspects of the business transformation and the disruption that is happening across the different industries. In this era, as a company leaders, just doing what brought you to this present, not embracing change, not renewing yourself, and important aspects of your business; is an indication that your ego, or comfort, or your fear to change, is not allowing you to move forward... and that potentially will be the "end". That "end" can come in one year, two... perhaps five years... but make no mistake, it is coming. The introduction of this book have key notes that I found extremely relevant to my current research. One of them being the following: "The leaders who achieve 'transformative' results go all-in on digital. That is they don't treat digital strategy as separate from their overall strategy.

This blog uses cookies to improve your browsing experience. Simple analytics might be in place for pageviews purposes. They are harmless and never personally identify you.

Agreed