1st Edition

Product Release Planning Methods, Tools and Applications

By Guenther Ruhe Copyright 2010
    339 Pages 93 B/W Illustrations
    by Auerbach Publications

    Business success hinges on successfully creating products with the right features. You must correctly analyze the needs of the customer and match these needs with your resources to not only produce a product and but also deliver it in a timely manner. An in-depth understanding of systematic release planning can put you on this path. Authored by renowned expert Günther Ruhe, Product Release Planning: Methods, Tools and Applications presents methods and tools to apply sound planning to product development and product management.

    The book covers the different aspects of supporting product release decisions ranging from foundations to methods, tools, and applications. Equal parts art and science, the actual decision-making is described as a process of combining rigorous methods with the intuition and experience of human experts. Ruhe provides a guided tour through the methodology and use of release planning, starting with technology and market needs and proceeding to product planning and finally to development projects. He studies three fundamental classes of problems: prioritization of features, product release planning on a strategic level (roadmapping), and release planning on an operational level (staffing).

    Presenting and discussing tool support for all the methods covered, the author supplies case studies that underpin the methodologies with practical examples. He also supplies trial accounts (read only) for the two most important decision tools for prioritization and product release planning. The author freely admits that the techniques presented are not supposed to be the ultimate truth, but a direction to go to support human decision-making, to better understand the rational of the decisions made, and to grow in the capability of mastering the whole planning process.

    About the Author: Günther Ruhe holds an Industrial Research Chair in Software Engineering at University of Calgary. His main results and publications are in software engineering decision support, product release planning, project management, as well as measurement, simulation, optimization and empirical research for software-based systems. From 1996 until 2001 he was deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering in Kaiserslautern, Germany. He has comprehensive experience in industry collaboration projects and is the Founder and CEO of Expert Decisions Inc. Dr. Ruhe is a member of the ACM, the IEEE Computer Society and the German Computer Society GI.

    Overview and Introduction
    What is Release Planning and Why Do We Care?
    Misconceptions about Release Planning
    How the Book is Structured
    Some Assumptions to Share
    Who Should Read This Book?
    Expected Benefits

    Decisions and How to Make Them
    Three Product Release Decision Scenarios 
    Classification of Decisions
    Decision-making versus Decision Support
    The Decision-Making Process
    Evolutionary Problem Solving
    An Integrated Approach to Decision-Making

    Features and Their Prioritization
    Feature Elicitation
    Criteria for Feature Prioritization
    Selection of Stakeholders
    Prioritization by Comparison: The Analytic Hierarchy Process AHP
    Prioritization by Scoring
    Prioritization Method Multi-Score
    Voice-Of-The-Stakeholder Analysis

    Planning for Product Releases: An Overview
    The Planning Onion
    Release Planning in a Nutshell
    Rigorous Release Planning Methods
    Release Planning in Practice: The Status Quo

    Modeling for Product Release Planning
    Decision Variables and Horizon of Planning
    Dependencies Between Features
    Effort Constraints
    Cost Constraints
    Resource Constraints
    Risk Constraints
    Planning Objectives
    Generation of Qualified Alternative Solutions
    How all the Modeling Components Come Together 

    EVOLVE II: A Systematic Method for Planning Product Releases
    Evolutionary Problem Solving for Product Release Planning
    EVOLVE II: Description of the Process
    Comparison with Other Methods

    Re-Planning of Product Releases
    Problem Formulation
    Re-planning Method H2W*
    H2W* Process Description
    Illustrative Case Study

    Staffing for Product Releases
    Background and Related Work
    Staffing for Maximum Total Release Value
    Staffing for Minimum Project Duration
    Staffing for Maximum Competence Match
    Industrial Case Study

    Advanced Topics
    Effort Estimation for Release Planning
    Decision Support by Explanation of Results
    Release Planning in Consideration of Design Constraints
    The Impact of Uncertainty in Operational Release Planning

    Tool Support
    Support For Prioritization: The Tool VeryBestChoicelight
    Product Release Planning: The ReleasePlannerTM Tool
    Staffing: The Tool RASORP

    Case Study: Product Roadmapping
    Preparation for Planning
    Prioritization of Features by Stakeholders 
    Planning without Tool Support
    Generation of Optimized Release Plan Alternatives
    Re-running the Process

    Case Study: Staffing for Product Releases
    The Impact of Improved Productivity
    The Impact of Predicted and Unpredicted Absence of Developers
    The Impact of Unpredicted Change of Effort Estimates
    Impact of Adding a New Feature During Release Development
    Decision Support for Hiring

    Case Study: Adaptable Project Management
    An Adaptable Project Management Approach
    Case Study
    Discussion of Results

    Application Scenarios
    Roadmapping for Multiple Products
    Release Planning with Consideration of Quality Demands
    Agile Project Management Following Scrum
    Planning for Competitiveness of Products
    Project Portfolio Planning

    How To Get It Started
    Step 1: Characterize and Understand
    Step 2: Define the Problem and Its Stakeholders
    Step 3: Define the Process
    Step 4: Execute the Process
    Step 5: Analyze the Process and Its Performance
    Step 6: Package Experience and Results
    Cost-Benefit Analysis
    Final Remarks


    Guenther Ruhe (University of Calgary , Alberta, Canada)