Define the Objectives of a Release
Objectives are concrete statements that describe what a release is trying to achieve. An objective should be written so that it can be evaluated after a release to see whether it was achieved. A well-worded objective will be Specific, Measurable, Attainable / Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART). (SMART is a technique for wording the objective. An objective does not have to be SMART to be valid.)
An example of an objective statement might be to “upgrade the customer service telephone system by August 15 to achieve average client wait times of no more than two minutes“.
- Note that the objective is specific
- The objective is measurable regarding the average client wait times the new phone system tries to achieve.
- You can assume that the objective is achievable and
- The objective is time-bound and should be completed by August 15.
Objectives are completed through the creation of release deliverables. In the example, the objective refers to upgrading the telephone system. Suppose you cannot determine the deliverables that are created to achieve the objective. In that case, the objective may be written too high. On the other hand, if an objective describes the characteristics of the deliverables (such as speed or ability to handle a specific number of users), it is written at too low a level. Characteristics tend to be more requirements statements, not objectives.
Suppose the release is part of a program. In that case, the objectives of all the release deliverables should align with the program objectives.
Objectives show an agreement between the Agile Team and the Product Owner on the primary purpose of the release. For example, the specific deliverables of a release may or may not make sense to the Product Owner. However, the objectives should be written so that they are understandable to all product stakeholders.
Objectives are also valuable since they provide alignment to organizational goals and strategies. A PPO should not authorize a release not tied to goals and strategies.