Chapter 4. The Release Plan

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Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to, does not mean it's useless.

”Thomas Edison

Creating a clear map of where the project is going is an important first step. It lets you identify risks, clarify objectives, and determine if the project even makes sense. The only thing more important than the Release Plan is not to take it too seriously.

Release planning is creating a game plan for your Web project outlining what you think you want your Web site to be. The plan is a guide for the content, design elements, and functionality of a Web site to be released to the public, to partners , or internally. It also estimates how long the project will take and how much it will cost. What the plan is not is a functional specification that defines the project in detail or that produces a budget you can take to the bank.

Basically you use a Release Plan to do an initial sanity check of the project's feasibility and worthiness. Release Plans are useful road maps, but don't think of them as guides to the interstate road system. Instead, think of them as the maps used by early explorers ”half rumor and guess and half hope and expectation.

It's always a good idea to have a map of where a project is headed.


Generating a Release Plan is as much an exercise in customer relations as it is the writing of a document. Web project requirements seem fairly loose to begin with, so simply spending a day with the customer usually isn't enough to get all the information you need. If you want a happy customer, you need to firm up information in at least four key areas:

  • What the customer is hoping to achieve through the Web site

  • What the best strategies are to achieve those goals

  • What technical constraints apply to the target audience for the site

  • What Web technologies are most appropriate

There are no easy answers to writing the release plan, but here is the process we have found most effective in producing successful projects. Keep it short and cover only the important issues. XP is not about generating documents.

I l @ ve RuBoard

Extreme Programming for Web Projects
Extreme Programming for Web Projects
ISBN: 0201794276
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 95

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