In a number of posts, including Enterprise Agility – The Big Picture(5) The Release Revisited I’ve commented on the desirability of separating Internal Releases (or Potentially Shippable Increments) from External or General Availability Releases. Although not directly represented in the Big Picture itself, this is the assumption behind the Agile Release Train graphic in the model. This creates a separation of concerns that allows development to work on the fasted possible pace, producing PSIs at an even and fast cadence, while the market and our marketing teams make the appropriate decisions as to what gets released to customers and when.
In a recent article entitled to To Release No More or to Release Always, posted for free download at the Cutter Consortium, (note you’ll need to enter the promotion code RELEASEMYTH) Israel Gat of BMC comments on this model as follows:
Think of the in-pipe in this example as engineering and the out-pipe as the business. Engineering can post releases at its own pace. The business can selectively choose from the posted releases. In this paradigm, marketing is not obligated to promote a release upon its completion. Marketing might do so in three months; it might choose to promote the current release with another release due at a later time; it might choose to make a release available on a limited basis; or it might choose never to promote a release.
He then goes on to note an even more potentially aggressive release postulate:
An intriguing question poses itself if you accept this premise of asynchronous operation. If the business is free to determine how it will promote a release in the market, why should engineering be bound to producing releases in the traditional manner? Can everyone benefit from relaxing the constraints that usually surround a release and move toward a more flexible, fluid release concept?
As a result, I coach most agile teams to start by making sure their “internal release” cadence is twice as fast at marketing, operations and the market is used to. In this way you get a release where you can gain feedback and steer the “external release” to market better.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.