We often receive a notification from Project Manager or Technical lead saying that “Latest code will be deployed on QA Server in half hour. Please start Testing”. So, in half hour we have to be ready with everything so that when deployment is done you can start Testing Activities without any delay. No matter how much delay is there in development, after every code release testers are expected to complete all tasks within defined time period.

Software Testers must have every bit of information regarding the latest code release before the deployment is over. By effectively using “Release Note” document we can achieve this expectation.

What is Code Release Note Document?

Release Note is a document to communicate with Software Testers / Customer to understand what is new in latest code release. It contains information about New Features/Functionality ready for testing, Functional Changes, Defects ready for Retesting & List of all known issues.


Benefits of Release Note

Release Notes explain what are the changes with latest version of the software. They can improve your project’s efficiency by providing all necessary information well in advance. So Testers can refrain from wasting valuable time in identifying and reporting defects that have already been identified. By providing list of defects fixed with latest release, retesting becomes very smooth. If Testers have list of all New Features which are ready for testing, they can directly start Sanity Testing. One more very important benefit is you can have the track record of all previous releases.

A lack of or insufficient release notes can lead to delays. Testers end up reporting repetitive defects and can not focus on new features. If you want to run your projects smoothly, do not leave testers wondering what, why and how things are happening.

What to Include & How to Prepare a Release Note?

Release Notes are the only way to properly communicate changes and enhancement among all team members. So it is very important to be very clear on your target audience and the purpose of the notes. Below are few points to consider while preparing a code release note:

1) Identify the Target Audience

First you need to understand why they are reading your notes. So you will have an idea about what to include in a note. If you are preparing release note for Software Testers then aim to deliver it before the new release deployment. That way testers can have enough time to study the release note and plan their activities accordingly.

2) Include What You’ve Done in latest Release

It’s better to keep track of all development activities right from the beginning. Don’t aim to prepare the notes at the very end because you’ll surely miss something. Release notes have separate sections for each activity. Based on your target audience you’ll need to work out which bits of information to include, and which can be omitted.

Nobody likes to read a descriptive information. Keep it bullet points separated to make it easily understandable. If required you can add a line or two for better explanation.

3) Add Prerequisites(if applicable)

Some features are not directly testable. Some actions needs to be done before testing such functionality. Add all required prerequisites along with the feature to test in the release note. Make it accurate and easily understandable.

4) Type of the Release Note

There are basically two types of release notes: Internal Release Note & External Release Note.

Internal Release Note is for company’s own use and mostly prepared for the Software Testing Team.
External Release Note is for Customer and End Users containing information about latest production release.

Release Note – Table of Contents

1. Introduction

– Release / Build Unique ID.
– Product short Description.

2. System Requirements

– Supported OS.
– Minimum system requirement.
– Recommended requirement.

3. New Features

– List of New Features
– Short Description / Functional Flow(if required)

4. Deleted or Removed Features

5. Enhancements / Change Requests

– List of Enhancements delivered in latest release.

6. Fixed Defects

– List of defects fixed in the latest release.

7. Not Fixed Defects

– List of defects not fixed and assigned to QA Team with proper reason.

8. Known Issues

– List of all known open defects with associated module name and description.

9. A Note to the Testing Team

– Here you can mention a short note regarding any feature, defect or enhancement.

Conclusion:

In this article we discussed about importance of Code Release Note. Please share your experience with use of Release Notes and if you are using any other format, share it with us. Post your questions below in the comments. Thank You!!


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