Release Notes

Release notes explain enhancements or new features added, and issues resolved in a particular version of a product or software.

In other words, release notes is a communication channel between the user and a product. It conveys upcoming features, changes, improvements, and enhanced user experience.

It is an important way of understanding the current state of a platform, see past updates and release versions.

Release notes document also supports other user guides and training materials.

Release notes can be written by:

  • Programmer or Developer
  • Quality Assurance (QA) analysts
  • Technical writer
  • Product manager
  • Marketer

What’s included in release notes?

Release notes should provide brief summary of the change and link to link to additional details where applicable.

If an image or video will help explain a change, include them in the release notes or link to an additional piece of content such as an article in your help center.

In most cases, release notes are grouped logically into sections such as ‘New Features’, ‘Enhancements’, ‘Bug Fixes’, etc.

Communicating about a change is sometimes not enough. Also, let your customers know when the version in which the change took place along with a reference identifier or a ticket number.

Communicate Product updates regularly to delight your customers

Release notes documents are shared with end users, customers and clients of an organization. Sometimes, the end users can be the different groups of internal users in software development teams such as the Quality Assurance (QA) group.

Writing great product release notes can be challenging. Communicating the smallest product change requires careful consideration in terms of when/how it is communicated to users in your release notes.

Without proper documentation guidelines in place, you risk confusing or frustrating customers and miss a perfect opportunity to delight users.

Sometimes, software teams fail to communicate their product updates. This can create the subpar customer experience.

Documenting release notes should ideally be a part of your Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Instead of rushing at the last minute, have a plan in place and commit to a process where product releases are more coordinated and developers, product owners or technical writers regularly compile list of changes.

In short, make release notes part of your software development and release process. Your customers will then never be caught off guard.