Using a Release Notes Template in Product Development

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 14, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Release notes are written documents that can help inform users and stakeholders about product changes, functionality updates, and new features. While you can create one from a blank document, using a template can help save time. If you're responsible for preparing release notes at work, having a framework and sample can help you make your notes informative and engaging. In this article, we discuss the benefits of using a release notes template, explain how to craft release notes, discuss helpful writing tips, and show a template and an example.

Why consider using a release notes template?

Using a release notes template can help you identify an effective structure for communicating the value of a new product release, update, or feature. This framework can remind you of essential details to include and how to order them. Whether you're a product manager or member, using a template can help you maintain consistency in all release notes you write for interested clients or stakeholders.

How to write release notes

Here are the steps you can take if you're responsible for creating release notes:

1. Plan your content

Because release notes describe product corrections, changes, and enhancements, extensively researching product information can help you create a detailed document. Consider the purpose of sending release notes, including features readers might find interesting or upgrades that may be more helpful. By planning your content, you can create insightful notes that increase brand awareness, operations visibility, and customer loyalty.

2. Write a header

You can start your release notes by creating a header for company and product information. This way, readers can understand what details to expect in the document. Here's a list of information to include in the header:

  • Document name

  • Product name

  • Release number

  • Release date

  • Release note date

  • Release note version

3. Include a product overview

Next, you can briefly discuss the product, explaining its functions in two to three sentences. Consider providing a summary of product changes from previous versions and discussing its offerings. This section can help inform potential customers of a product's value and expand a company's user base.

4. Discuss upgraded features

Depending on the specific product, you can explain more details about upgraded features. For example, suppose you work for a software corporation that produces website applications. You can use a bulleted list to expand on new web features and discuss what readers can expect.

5. Address changes

If a previous release had performance issues, consider creating a section specifically to address them. Consider describing the issue and how it impacted the company's product. Then, you can explain how recent changes solved the challenge. Because stakeholders might be curious about your approach, you can outline the steps you took to handle the performance issue. Creating this section can also help you reiterate the company's commitment to fixing performance issues and ensuring excellent user experiences.

6. Explain user and support impacts

Next, you can describe how product changes or enhancements can impact users. For example, if an update changes user experience, you can describe the new actions to take. A product release might also contain updated hardware or software requirements, so describing them can help keep users informed. You can also outline support impacts, which are internal changes necessary to administer the product or software.

7. Include additional notes

You can use release notes to offer additional information about hardware or software installation or upcoming upgrades. This section can also contain product or company disclaimers. For example, you may discuss duplication or freeware policies that apply to the specific product.

8. Conclude professionally

Consider including the company's contact information at the document's end. This way, users can know how to find additional resources, report an issue, or provide constructive criticism. You can also use this section to outline preferred communication channels and availability, such as support hours.

Read more: Professionalism in the Workplace

Tips for writing successful release notes

Here are the best practices for creating engaging release notes:

Be brief and accessible

Brief release notes can attract a reader's attention. Whenever possible, consider using bullet points and simple language. A positive, personal tone can also retain a reader's focus. Creating physical and digital copies can make it easier for stakeholders and users to access these notes.

Collaborate with the development team

Working with the development team can help you identify useful information to include in release notes. For example, manufacturers and product developers are typically the most qualified to provide details about upcoming changes. Similarly, legal professionals can help you describe product or company policies in disclaimers.

Read more: Promoting Collaboration in the Workplace: All You Need to Know

Be authentic

Release notes can be an effective way to market a product or brand to prospects. Consider using a unique brand voice to communicate with customers and create impactful content. Checking the tone you use against previous release notes can help ensure consistency across all public documents.

Release notes template

Here's a template you can reference to create release notes:

[Document name]
[Product name]
Release date: [product launch date]
Release notes version: [version number]
Release notes date: [note creation date]

Overview
[Briefly describe the product's features, updates, or changes, using simple language and considering the target audience]

Features

  • [Present a new feature and how to use it.]

  • [Present a new feature and how to use it.]

  • [Present a new feature and how to use it.]

  • [Present a new feature and how to use it.]

Changes

  • [Describe an update and how a user can navigate it.]

  • [Describe an update and how a user can navigate it.]

  • [Describe an update and how a user can navigate it.]

  • [Describe an update and how a user can navigate it.]

User and support impacts

  • [Outline any change that can impact users and discuss the reason for modifications.]

  • [Outline any change that can impact users and discuss the reason for modifications.]

  • [Outline any change that can impact users and discuss the reason for modifications.]

  • [Outline any change that can impact users and discuss the reason for modifications.]

Additional notes
[Add any disclaimers or additional information about product releases, such as links to tutorials or demonstrations.]

Conclusion
[Describe how users can contact a company if they have questions, comments, and concerns about product releases.]

FAQs about release notes

Reviewing the following answers to frequently asked questions to learn more about release notes:

What is the difference between release notes and end-user license agreements?

Unlike release notes, an end-user license agreement contains a product's legal terms and conditions. These agreements typically specify the rights and restrictions applicable to product use. In comparison, release notes focus on product changes, impacts, and features, including product test results or procedures.

How do you distribute release notes?

Here are distribution options for release notes you can explore:

  • E-mail list: You can add stakeholders and users to an emailing list to share release notes.

  • Application store: You can consider including release notes in an application store's description for software products. This way, users can find out new features or changes before product downloads or upgrades.

  • Mobile notifications: Another option is to use in-app messaging and notifications to get a user's attention while they use a product.

  • Website alerts: Consider including release notes on company websites, social media profiles, and blogs.

Related: The Best Ways to Start an Email for the Desired Response

What formatting style can you use for release notes?

You can use a formatting style that your employers recommend for public documents. Many company documents use professional formats, such as 10- to 12 font sizes and readable fonts. Confirming this information before you start writing release notes can help you save time.

Release notes example

Here's a guide you can use to create release notes:

Grindi Mobile Banking App Release Update
Grindi Mobile Banking App
Release date: March 24, 2022
Release notes version: 2
Release note date: February 26, 2022

Overview
Control your money with our secure mobile banking application. This new version offers increased functionality, computer bug fixes, and improved banking experiences.

Features

  • Easy log-in: This application feature can help you stay logged in for more convenient account access.

  • Quicklook: This feature can help you locate your account balance and transaction details quickly.

Changes

  • Bug fixes: These changes improve security functions and remote storage options.

  • Personalized user information: The new account page offers customizable information, such as a tool to upload your picture.

User and support impacts

  • Software requirements: These updates require UsT version 4.5.4 for optimal functionality

  • Permission changes: These application changes require permission to collect personal information and camera access.

Notes
While anyone can download this application, only Grindi customers can log in and use new features.

Conclusion
Connect with Grindi by calling our customer service line at 245-434-888. For questions, concerns, or comments, please e-mail our support team at grindicustomersupport@email.com.

Explore more articles