The Release notes refer to the document produced and distributed whenever a new product is launched or any recent changes are made to the current product. It briefly describes a new product or the updates done to a product. Usually, they are created for the end-users, but can also be used internally in an organization during the development process. The project manager is responsible for making the release notes. They should not be confused with the user guide or the manual that describes the procedures.
As their name depicts, the release notes are the notes that are provided when a new product is introduced in the market, or an existing product is updated. They include details about specific features of a new product and the changes made in the update of a current product. It is mainly intended to inform the end-user about the product, but can also be used internally during the development process.
Importance of Release Notes
The product release notes provide a company with a direct way of communicating with the customer. They let the users know about the new features and the bug fixes in a particular version. Your customer expects regular updates, and they preserve the right to know about what they are investing in. Through these notes, the user knows that their feedback was heard, and the problems they were facing in the previous version no longer exist in the new version. This way, the user starts to trust the company.
Elements of Release Notes
The release notes must contain the following elements to be valuable and practical:
- Issue Summary
- Steps to Reproduce
- End-user impacts
- Support impacts
The header section of release notes includes the document name, product name, release number, date of Release, release note date, and release note version. In a nutshell, the header presents general information about the product.
An overview of the changes made in a particular release is given in this section. It includes new features, feature updates, and bug fixes.
This section defines the purpose of a particular release.
This part summarizes the issues that are addressed in the new Release.
Steps to Reproduce
Actions taken when a particular bug is detected are mentioned in this section.
This section specifies how a particular bug or problem was fixed.
List out the actions the end-user will have to perform to implement the changes made.
The support team’s actions to support a particular release are listed in this section.
This section includes the documentation, hardware and software installation, upgrades, etc.
The company specifies its disclaimers in this section.
This includes the company’s contact information that the users can use to give their feedback or report any problem they face while using a product.
How to Write Engaging Release Notes?
Writing interesting release notes and helpful for the users is essential. Here are some tips for writing interesting release notes:
- Use Simple Language: You should try to explain the changes you make in a specific release in easy-to-understand and straightforward language so that everyone can read and understand them.
- Keep the notes Brief: Avoid writing long paragraphs and specify each change in points. The release notes should be short so that users can know more in less time.
- Be Customer-Centric: Write the release notes while keeping the user and reader in mind. Avoid using technical terms and explain everything in simple words.
- Include Relevant Links: Include the links that a user can use to understand your product better.