Product Release Planning: Methods, Tools and Applications, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Product Release Planning

Methods, Tools and Applications, 1st Edition

By Guenther Ruhe

Auerbach Publications

339 pages | 93 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780849326202
pub: 2010-06-16
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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.

Table of Contents


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



Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COMPUTERS / Information Technology
COMPUTERS / Software Development & Engineering / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Engineering (General)
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Telecommunications