Release notes describe and list the changes of a software version and are normally published to the user and customer of a application or app.
Release notes contain the changes of a software product that have been made in a specific software release.
The document normally contains the following elements:
For internal communication and documentation, a changelog or internal release notes document can be maintained during the development phase. This document includes all changes between the release of the previous release and the created future release.
Writing release notes is performed by the product owner or product management. The process should already start during the development phase. Fixed issue and enhanced functionality are collected.
If a specific software management tool as Microsoft Azure DevOps or Atlassian Jira is used, the list of tickets for this specific release can be extracted. There are also add-ons to Jira and DevOps available, that help with release notes automation.
The list of issues and tickets is than grouped by ticket type (feature, user story, enhancement and bug). Within each group, the tickets can be sorted by priority (what is most important to the user) or alphabetically.
Non-finished features and enhancements should not be mentioned in the release notes. Also changes that are invisible to the user might not be noted, if no change is expected.
The language and words used in the release notes should be similar to the language used in the software, app or SaaS application – short, precise, not technical but also not “flappy”.
Start writing the release notes already during the development phase. So the QA team can use it during the software testing phase.
Get feedback from various departments before the publication of the release notes. Inform all internal stakeholders – especially the marketing and support department.
Update and prepare the software documentation during the development and testing phase. So when the release is published, the documentation is ready for the customers.
The following companies and software provider publish regularly release notes. They are just a fraction. If you would like to add a good example, get in touch.
The following template of release notes is an example and should be adapted to your needs.
Release notes contain the following sections
Additional information can be added if available or necessary, as e.g.
So a simple release notes sample could look like
A specific release notes tool or release notes generator is not necessary. Notepad, Microsoft Word or any other word processor is good enough. The release notes should be exported to a pdf file. This release notes pdf file can be put on the website or send as release notes email to all customers.
If a support suite as ZenDesk or FreshDesk, or another product documentation software is used, create a specific page or section for the release notes.
Download your free release notes template now on our gumroad page:
We have also created a simple and free Release Notes Generator for Azure DevOps – import your tickets e.g. from a search or saved query, use the default template or customize it, and copy/paste the generated release notes. No installation necessary, no cost. We do not store your input data.