Draft - Work in Progress

Release Process Proposal

General Goals

1) A simple, measured introduction to a new set of product development processes (1)

2) A reliable, published release roadmap (2)

Specific Proposal

1) A formal release management team

2) Two releases over the next 10-12 months (4)

3) The product manager will:

4) The product council will:

Next Steps

Weekly open meetings (i.e. anyone may join the discussion, though not all opinions may be formally binding) (6) will begin which will include the product manager and release management team. The product manager will coordinate and own the agenda, and early orders of business will include:

  1. An initial review of proposed new features (7)
  2. The initial members of the release management team will work to propose (to the community) formal processes for how its decisions will be made and how members may be recruited
  3. The product manager will document significant changes for 2.7-2.8, and coordinate their review by the product council.

Footnotes

1. The new Product Development Process introduces new roles and new ways of doing business. There is a newly appointed product council, which will be working to establish a transparent process with clear criteria, and there is also a new product manager, among whose responsibilities is ownership of a Sakai roadmap. The new process is not going to achieve maturity overnight, especially at this time of year (Q3 2009) when both vacations and Fall term preoccupations hold sway, and so a balance needs to be struck that allows the council begin taking up its charge quickly but simply, without throwing all expectations and ingrained habits into sudden confusion.
2. The community needs a reliable release roadmap in order to both contribute to the general effort and make preparations for its own deployments.
3. Release scope will be framed by an analysis of what can be managed and adequately tested under the constraints of available time and volunteer resource from the community. Functional priorities will require the guidance of the product council, but against this an achievable release management plan still needs to be developed, and on this basis some proposed new features may have to be postponed for a future release.
4. These two releases would correspond roughly to two different kinds of processes for reviewing release readiness of new development work. A "lightweight" process can be used for modest refinements or small additions to existing functionality, and typically won't involve the product council. A "heavy" process would involve product council review at a minimum, and typically passage through the entire product development cycle. Changes to existing functionality that the release management team deems significant (e.g. a big change to the UX, or involving some considerable technical risk) will be brought before the review of the product council by the product manager.
5. While QA and other release management processes are underway for 2.7, review and planning for 2.8 will also begin. To the extent that 2.8 involves significant new capabilities, this activity will happen mostly in the context of product council processes.
6. The meetings will publish minutes, document decisions, and send out any significant proposals to the list for community comment.
7. New features and plans from development teams are being collected in Confluence at: Proposed changes to 2.7