Re: True insignificance... and release notes

Subject: Re: True insignificance... and release notes
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 13:42:38 -0800 (PST)

In June of last year we hired a full-time release
manager, who coordinates and schedules "builds" to
move efficiently from our Development environment to
QA to Staging and finally to Production. I've injected
my "deliverable" (i.e., release notes) into her

When Development creates a "build" of our software,
they pull a lot of raw data from a bug and enhancement
database into a Word document that they call "release
notes." As is usually the case with material written
by developers and QA analysts, it can be very crude
and thin.

When a build moves into our QA environment, I'm on a
deployment notification list. My task then is to
review Development's release notes and to prepare a
set of "draft release notes" that will eventually be
distributed to the company. That requires several

- Talking to developers to clear anything up.
- Determining if each bug is worthy of "public"
release notes. Some bugs and their fixes are so
obscure that it's not worth the clutter. (For example,
a graphic that doesn't appear properly on the UI.)
- Adding additional information to an item if
- Grouping large numbers of bug fixes in a logical
- Explaining complex concepts for a non-technical
audience. (For example, I had to explain server-side
caching for people who may not understand the
difference between an application server and a web

My release notes evolve as the build moves closer to
Production, based on technical and end-user reviews
and last-minute changes to the application.

My challenge is distribution. We don't have an
intranet, so I post the release notes to a Lotus Notes
database so that everyone can use them as they see

My relative success is due in large part to a
well-documented build process. If those folks didn't
create that initial Word doc, I'd have a lot of grunt
work to do.

Hope this helps. Great topic!

Steven Brown
Senior Technical Writer

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True insignificance... and release notes: From: Cadorette Johanne

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