Many companies of all sizes face communication problems on a different level. It is impossible to address all the issues in one article. However, internal release notes are your ultimate solution.
As product managers are responsible to keep all stakeholders in the loop and updated about all recent product updates and well as a current roadmap. A lot of time is wasted on unnecessary meetings and calls to explain what technical teams are working on and what has been accomplished.
After integrating Internal release notes both you and stakeholders will save time. Because you won't spend time explaining, they won't spend time listening.
And before we move on, let's specify who are stakeholders I am talking about.
Internal stakeholders are people who are interested in all product updates. In comparison to customers (who are also your stakeholders), internal stakeholders have different sets of needs. Also, not every customer is interested to know what has changed. However, product managers, marketers, CEO, COO, CTO, customer success and customer support need to know detailed information about what has changed and what is going on.
What are the internal release notes?
Internal release notes is a document in a bulleted form that comes alongside a software release to tell internal stakeholders what has changed. Typical release notes include information about bug fixes, new features, and sometimes know issues. Its main goal is to inform people about recent releases & keep everybody on the same page.
Why do you need internal release notes
Writing external release notes is a complicated task on its own, why do you need to do extra work?
Because internal stakeholders have a different set of needs.
Usually, external release notes summarize all information about updates in a concise form. And usually, the concise form means that a lot of important information is eliminated.
For example, imagine that a user is reporting a bug to customer support. Maybe the developers' team has already fixed it, but it was such a minor update, that it wasn't included into release notes.
So instead of wasting time customer support manager will know right away that the bug is already fixed and a user can be directly notified about the fixed issue ultimately leaving him a positive experience.
You might not value the importance of internal release notes. However, you will understand over time how much of meeting time and empty conversation internal release notes save. (As a bonus. No more small talks in between.)
Also, writing external release notes is more complicated. Because sometimes it involves humor, company branding, special stylization, and beautiful visuals. Internal release notes are like the first pancake you cook. The first one always turns ugly, but it is as delicious!
How to organize release notes processes within the company?
There are two options to organize release notes processes: use software for release notes, which support private release notes. Or create an online document and send access to everybody.
Create different release notes for different teams and categorize release notes based on what your reader is likely to care about the most.
For example, you could break release notes into 3 sections:
- New features that could impact them
- Bug fixes that could impact them
- Features updates they need to be aware of
- New features that could impact them in the future, but not now
Some audiences would like to see more detailed and technical release notes. Others just need to have an overview of a company's performance. So the goal here is to provide helpful and relevant information to the stakeholders.
The rule of thumb is to prioritize release notes in importance order. And use different labels to categorize new features from bug fixes.
For example, within AnnounceKit you could create 3 different private projects for different teams: marketing, support and top management. And think differently what information they need and more likely is going to impact them.
Moreover, AnnounceKit sends automatic emails to subscribers, so the link to a document will never get lost and your audience will always know if new release notes are waiting for them.
Internal release notes can be viewed as a new unnecessary task. However, when it is done right you'll save hours and hours of unnecessary meetings and small talks in between asking and explaining what has changed.