FAQ: What are silent releases and why are the ALM Rangers using them?

As always meeting the ALM Rangers in person at the MVP Summit and mingling with the MVPs and their often mind-blowing discussions has been a great experience. 

Unfortunately I had to leave early, but my colleagues should be happy that I too am sticking to our mantra of family > job > rangers Smile

Getting back to the FAQ … in a number of conversation the question “what is a silent release and why do we have them” was mentioned and deserves an answer.

Silent Release

This is not an official term or process checkpoint, but something we are introducing into our process to ensure that we can get deliverables to a small group of “friends”, for early feedback and possible re-alignment.


As shown in the “rough” sketch:

  1. The Ranger project team constructs and validates their solution as per our well defined process.
  2. When the solution reaches a minimal quality level (as agreed at kick-off), the project lead (PL), program manager (PM) and product owner (PO) agree to “ship silently”.
  3. One thread of activity is the silent shipment, delivering the release packages to the project delivery channel, i.e. CodePlex, marked as a BETA. There is no public announcement, only an email announcement to ALM Champs, ALM Rangers and other selected friends, with clear instructions to evaluate, deliver candid feedback and not  to blog, tweet or announce in any other form.
  4. In parallel the team continues to raise the quality bar, for example technical editors start reviewing the content, correcting spelling, grammar, context, terminology and other gremlins. Having Rangers from around the world, with a variety of home languages, often result in adventurous deliverables that need fine tuning Smile
  5. The feedback is actioned and when the team believes that the quality bars are met, they once again “ping” their PL, PM and PO for signoff. The result is another silent release or a public release with broad announcements.

But Why?

The core intent is to give early adopters an opportunity to evaluate and give candid feedback, while the team raises the quality bars. The intent is not to awaken the pedantic spelling, grammar or coding style reviewers during a silent release, but to determine if we are in the “correct movie” and avoid disappointment, confusion and discouraging dust storms when we ship.

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