Plan releases to decide what to deliver when

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Releases are freeform buckets that you can use to group features together on certain boards. They help you communicate your priorities to stakeholders across your organization while indicating approximately when certain functionalities may be available.



In this article:

Relevant to both new and legacy boards

Defining your releases

You can name a release anything you want, but usually it's best to stick to the following conventions:

  • Sequential release numbers (R17, R18, R19...)
  • Sprint numbers (Sprint 1, Sprint 2, Sprint 3...)
  • Codenames (Betelgeuse, Nova, Fusion...)
  • Relative timeframes (Now, Next, Later)
  • Time spans (January, Q1, 2025...)
    • (Actually, time spans are often better handled by timeframes!)

Agile organizations often use a hybrid of the above, defining releases more granularly in the short-term and then getting broader when extending further into the future (e.g. February, March, Q2, 2H, Later).

If you're using your releases to indicate when features might be available, the key is to avoid committing to specific dates (or narrow timeframes) whenever possible—particularly with regard to anything beyond the short-term. Having the flexibility to adjust plans as you learn more about the problems you're solving for and the objectives you're pursuing is a requisite for success with Agile.

What can go into releases?

You can link three different item types to releases:

  • Initiatives (New experience only): You can link entire initiatives to releases in cases where releases represent high-level deliverables.
  • Features: You can link individual deliverables or functionality to releases.
  • Subfeatures: If you are using releases for relatively small time buckets (like sprints), you can link individual subfeatures to releases.

Adding items to releases

Using board columns

You can add releases as columns to any features board or grid using Add columns > Releases and toggling the slider. 

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Simply click the circle in a release column to assign that row's item to that column's release. Press Shift while adding a feature to a release to add it as an additional release, rather than replacing the previously assigned release.

By dragging and dropping

Most boards will let you drag and drop items between releases to reassign them. Hold shift while dragging an item to add an additional release assignment instead of replacing the existing one. 

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From the item's detail sidebar

Click on an item to open its sidebar, then scroll down to the Releases section and find your releases. Click Add release to choose the releases you'd like to assign the item to.

From the release's detail sidebar

You can also link items to releases from within the release's sidebar, which you can access by clicking directly on a release. Scroll down to the Initiatives, Features, or Subfeatures section and find the items you want. Click the + button to assign that item to that release.  

Visualizing releases on grids, timelines, and columns boards

Relevant to new boards only

There are many ways to visualize releases on New boards. As you're experimenting to find the right visualization method for your use case, don't forget that you can easily switch any New board's layout to any other New board layout without creating a new board. 

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Grid
To visualize releases on a grid, choose Releases as the main item type from the Items menu.
Timeline
There are two options for visualizing releases on a timeline:
  1. Choose Releases as the main item type from the Items menu.
  2. If you have initiatives or features set as your main item, you can Group by > Release to add some context.
Columns board
There are three options for visualizing releases on a columns board:
  1. Choose Releases as the main item type from the Items menu.
  2. If you have initiatives or features set as your main item, you can Group by > Release to slice data by two dimensions (for example, team and release).
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  3. If you want to move items between releases at will, choose Columns > Release.
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Working with release groups

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Release groups are folders for your releases. You can create a new release group from the Data section > Releases > Create (the blue button in the top right corner).

Use cases for release groups

  • If you have multiple teams working out of the same Productboard workspace, each using a different release system, you can manage each as a separate release group.
  • You can also use release groups for different types of releases (sprints, versions, patches...).
  • You could also create multiple release groups to manage when features are getting worked on, or when they are tentatively planned to be released, separately from the broader releases that are shared with your organization on your roadmaps.

Displaying multiple release groups

You can display multiple release groups at once on some board types:

  • On a grid, choose releases as the main item type, or add release columns from multiple release groups.
  • On a features board, add release columns from multiple release groups.
  • On a timeline, choose releases as the main item type.
  • On a columns board, choose releases as the main item type.

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See also

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