Release notes are some of the most eagerly awaited product updates. Whenever you release a new version of your software, any important changes are included in the release notes. If you’re unsure what to include in your software release notes, or how to communicate certain changes, using a release note template could help channel your thoughts.
In this guide, we’ll look at why product release notes are so useful and how to write them using the release note templates on monday.com. We’ll also explore some other useful templates you may want to employ in your development projects.
What is a release note?
Release notes are a document published alongside new software releases to make users aware of any changes in the product, whether they’re new features or smaller technical changes. Release notes can be shipped as a document, shown as a page within the product, and/or published as blog posts so users can see them online. Release notes are a useful way for developers to communicate updates or notify users of a major bug fixed in the latest version. However, they often end up being an afterthought, especially for developers at a small software company who may feel they’re too busy working on the code for the app updates to spend time on documentation. There are many important reasons to use release notes, however.Release notes should be written with the end user in mind, rather than the development team.
Why use release notes?
Release notes are an important part of the user experience. They communicate information that users need to be aware of, including:
- Security updates
- Bug fixes
- API changes
- Deprecated features
- New features
Release notes are just one part of how developers can communicate with their user base. Other useful tools include the product roadmap, documentation, support forums, and social media. Release notes can be used as part of the announcement of a new software version, to build excitement among users. But what does a good set of release notes look like?
Release notes help users understand what’s changed in the latest version of your software.
What are some examples of release notes?
One good example of release notes that are clear and easy to read is the Microsoft Office release notes. Office is a large and complex software product, and it’s one that’s grown and evolved a lot over time. Microsoft breaks the release notes down into categories such as Resolved Issues and Feature Updates. Within those categories, there are subcategories for individual office components, such as Word and Excel. The release notes are written with the end user in mind. Microsoft has style guides that include advice on everything from the terminology to describe specific user interface elements to general word choice and tone of voice. When developers write release notes for Microsoft, they’ll follow this guidance so that Office, Visual Studio, and other products all have the same “feel” and presentation.
Most developers aren’t working for organizations with as vast of a product range as Microsoft, and in smaller teams, it’s easier to maintain a consistent brand voice. Rather, the challenge faced by small and medium-sized teams is to translate the work done during the last software development sprint into a set of release notes users will find helpful. That’s where a release note template comes in handy.
Release note templates on monday.com
The release note templates on monday.com are just some of the many templates available for use with our Work OS and other productivity and communication tools. The template integrates with monday.com Work OS as well as other apps, including GitHub, Teams, Gmail, and a variety of other popular apps. A release note template helps team members build a development roadmap, decide which features and issues belong in each release, and assign issues to specific developers throughout the process.
Using our Release Note Template, project leads can plan out a features and releases roadmap for each quarter using Kanban-style boards for each milestone and assigning features or tasks to developers, designers, and testers. Within each release, tasks can be broken down into more detail. By creating a visual map of issues, features, and releases, it becomes easy to see at a glance which new features or improvements are ready for each release. Developers can use this information to map out their release notes, helping ensure nothing is missed out. When combined with monday.com’s other templates and integrations, everything you need is in one place, increasing productivity and improving your team’s efficiency.
Related templates on monday.com
monday.com offers a variety of productivity tools for developers. There’s also a vast library of integrations, all intended to help streamline developer workflows. Some popular templates include:
Plan out the road from minimum viable product through to alpha, beta, and release (and beyond) with our detailed Product Roadmaps that break down the work required in each quarter. Product roadmaps give a high-level overview of each stage of your product development. Link the roadmap to your project management tools, and take advantage of GitHub integration to track issues and updates.
Digital asset management
Keep your brand identity consistent by giving designers access to digital asset management tools. Store all of your assets in one place, categorize them, and help designers and marketing teams share them with each other using monday.com’s Digital Asset Management Templates and tools.
Review sprints and optimize workflows
monday.com’s Sprint Retrospective Templates allow you to review the performance of your last sprint, discuss any issues, and evaluate the work done. A sprint retrospective is a chance for everyone involved in the development process to share their thoughts and discuss how to improve future sprints so that the whole team achieves more in each stage of the product development cycle.
Frequently asked questions
How do you write a release note?
To write a release note, start with a simple release note template that breaks down the note into categories for areas such as improvements, new features, and bug fixes. If there’s a lot to cover, consider adding a Table of Contents at the start. Describe each improvement or change clearly, remembering that the target audience for release notes is users, not the development team.
What should a release note contain?
Release notes should contain information about bug fixes, security patches, improvements, and new features. These should be grouped together to improve readability. Great release notes are presented clearly and in plain language, avoiding technical jargon as much as possible.
Release note templates provide a framework for communication
Release note templates provide a starting point for deciding what to include in your product release notes. They break down the features and fixes that should be included so your team can think about those updates, how best to describe them, and how they’ll affect their customers. The library of templates offered by monday.com can help you and your team plan each step of their next sprint, manage the project’s assets, and plan release notes.