Not Ready for Agile? Start Your Journey with Release Trains


Release Trains May Allow You to Start Your Agile Journey
If you are one of those teams considering how to start an agile journey, you may want to start with release trains. You can use the heartbeat of the iterations to force yourself to release your product to your customers on a regular basis. Your internal and external promises of working product to your customer may be just the nudge you need to try something more agile than you have been using before.

A note of caution: You may discover that an iteration of twelve weeks is too long and that you need to move to a much shorter, internal timebox for features of, say, two to three weeks to actually achieve working software. Don’t be afraid to use timeboxes inside your trains to achieve the results you need. What matters is that you are able to release working product on your release date so that your trains run on time.

About the author

Johanna Rothman's picture Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” helps organizational leaders see problems and risks in their product development. She helps them recognize potential “gotchas,” seize opportunities, and remove impediments. Johanna was the Agile 2009 conference chair. She is the technical editor for Agile Connection and the author of these books:

  • Manage Your Job Search
  • Hiring Geeks That Fit
  • Manage Your Project Portfolio: Increase Your Capacity and Finish More Projects
  • The 2008 Jolt Productivity award-winning Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management
  • Hiring the Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets and Science of Hiring Technical People

Johanna is working on a book about agile program management. She writes columns for and projectmanagementcom and blogs on her website,, as well on

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