Handling feature-creep on your NEXT RELEASE

Next release ...In an interesting post on changing the way his company (37signals) is managing the naming of new versions, David explains they left the habit of numbering from version 2.1 to 2.2, and instead name the versions after the biggest common feature the new version delivers.

So if the next version is all about improved security, the release is simply called the “improved security release”.

This clear naming convention helps David to decide what’s in the next release, and what’s not.

The post was noticed at Tyner Blain, who devoted an enthousiastic post on the subject.

Actually, the convention fits nicely in the way releases should be handled within RUP. For every release a problem statement and a product position statement are developed AND agreed upon between all stakeholders of the project.

The problem statement is a solution-neutral summary of the stakeholders’ shared understanding of the problem to be solved.
The product position statement is the “mission statement” for the system to be built (the solution). The product position statement is a vehicle for communicating a brief definition of the system to all stakeholders (definitions from safari).

The problem statement and the product position statement are excellent tools to use in the CCB  (Change & Control Board) who decides on including or excluding new features in the (next) release. Both statements are documented in the RUP Vision document.

If you have a hard time defining these statements, you will definitely have a hard time with scope-creep. Now you see why!

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2 Comments »

  1. I totally agree. Making the milestone/release title a concise mission statement for that release can only be a good thing. Everyone on the team will know what features they have up their sleeves to put on the backburner and which ones to really drive hard on.

    Imagine if Microsoft used this for external version numbering, and not just internaly:

    Windows 2000 would be Windows Only Bluescreens Once a Week Now!

    PS: Do you have a connection to the Fischer Price Mom? or did you find her while looking for toys and think it was a nice metaphor versioning? That with babies having a 9 month release deadline, and a pretty standardized feature set scheduled for the final release from day one of the pregnancy?

  2. hij2mc said

    Aaron,
    I found the Mom with Google picture search on “pregnancy”, which is after all a nice metaphoric picture for a next release.
    Raises the question how you landed on this post, were you searching for pregnancey pictures too?

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