5 Software Release Notes Templates to Optimize Product Experience
Let’s get right to it: Software release templates contribute to repeat success. But how do you encourage your fellow developers, engineers, and product managers to naturally adopt and follow templates?
Urgent requests, app sprawl, and poor team communication are hard hitters to productivity, and adding templates sometimes feels like Another Project No One Asked For.
But if these budget-wasting events continue, product speed and delivery weaken, and that’s not a reality we want for you!
Any tool we use has the potential to burden our productivity—when it’s mismanaged. If we can share our experience in productivity to help you organize your release delivery process in any way, we’re not going to hold back.
There are great templates and examples here to unpack, but if you’re curious about using ClickUp for product management, start today! 🌐
We’ll explore five release note templates, practical tips to gain from them, and a step into a day-by-day guide to writing and publishing release notes.
What is a Software Release Note?
Software release notes are technical documentation distributed with a new or updated product release to announce changes, bug fixes, and improvements. Your release notes keep users informed of what your team has been working on to meet their expectations. ⚡️
Release notes should be your customer’s go-to to answer their basic question: What do I need to know?
Depending on your industry—entertainment, business, travel, or social networking—these public release notes are generally distributed on these channels: the company’s website, blog, in-app notifications, email, application stores, and social media.
Technical documentation isn’t the most desired by customers (looking at you, Terms and Conditions), but release notes are in their own classification. They’re a knowledge base to give your customers the best experience with your product. 💡
Using unfamiliar words in your release notes isolates and confuses customers. For this reason, try to avoid technical jargon!
Like a song and dance, release notes are about preparation, timing, and delivery.
They’re a direct line to retain frustrated users and re-engage users. So don’t hold off on writing release notes until the night before launch day. ⌛️
Whether your organization is in year two or ten, the software release notes templates we’ve shortlisted range from basic documentation to a productivity suite. So there’s something for everyone!
5 Free Release Notes Templates
Our first software release notes template is brought to you by ClickUp Docs!
This template packs content placeholder and visual examples at your disposal to spark creative decisions for a positive impact on your customer’s reading experience.
Here are a few time-saving (and free!) features of Docs you’ll love alongside your release content:
- Collaborative editor: Tag team members and stakeholders with comments, assign them action items, and convert text into trackable tasks to stay on top of ideas
- Color-coded banners: Organize content and emphasize important text
- Actionable buttons: Connect relevant links to other product-related content for your customers to learn more
- Sticky Table of Contents: Jump to any section of your document with a sticky table of contents that stays with you as you scroll
- Code Blocks: Maintain code integrity, readability, and spacing with syntax highlighting
- Publicly-shared pages: Allow search engines to include the link in search results and copy the embed code from the advanced settings section
From idea to release, prioritize and plan your initiatives, epics, and issues—all in one place. 🧑💻
Check out our list of release management tools!
2. MS Word Release Notes Template
You’ll learn and thing or two about a traditional release note format with Microsoft Word’s template! This is a good example of consistent language you’ll want to aim for when writing release notes. (More about this later!)
3. Product Release Notes Template
The next template by Kipwise is another example of great release notes to communicate updates with customers. If you’re looking for a done-for-you template to send to your technical writer or product manager to write release notes, they’ll have a skeleton outline to get started right away.
4. MS Word Deployment Release Notes Template
This next release notes template in Microsoft Word is an editable document with a dedicated release note section for each main topic: Introduction, Key Modifications, Configuration Notes, and Known Issues.
We’ve covered why you should avoid technical jargon at every turn possible. But if your software is designed for product enthusiasts who follow the tech-y terms, this template will show you how to organize your release notes for readability and flow.
(See, there’s something for everyone on this list!)
5. Sprint Release Notes Template
Last but not least, this fill-in-the-blank template breaks down all the critical parts of a release document for you to consider. Full disclaimer, this template is…a lot..especially if customers prefer to read every word. (Spoiler: They don’t!) But don’t let that turn you away.
The placeholders are exactly what a good release notes template needs to take the guesswork out of “What goes here?” We can never underestimate how forgetful we can be about the small details, no matter how many product release notes we’ve put out!
How to Use ClickUp to Write Release Notes
If you’ve ever been curious about ClickUp, the first thing you need to know is supporting development work is part of who we are.
Most agile teams in hybrid or close to fully-remote workplaces are going through stages of productivity highs and lows. Mistakes are repeated, systems are put in place, then something comes up and turns everything upside down. Your team members are masters at self-organizing, but you know there’s a better way to remove productivity barriers so they can focus on needle-moving work.
While there’s no magic wand to make these common problems disappear, tools like ClickUp were designed to put the workflow customization power in the hands of teams.
And product teams love using ClickUp because they have high-level visibility across multiple teams or get the granular details of any project or dependency when needed.
We want your release notes creation process to be an intuitive tool for managing cross-functional projects—and removing the unnecessary Zoom meetings from everyone’s calendar!
In this guide, we’ll see the collaborative process for a hybrid organization to write release notes in five days. 🗓
Day 1: Send a release task template to product managers, engineers, and developers to gather information
Task templates in ClickUp set the expectations for all teams involved. It’s the central location for each feature team to deliver written explanations, short videos, and other supporting materials for the upcoming release. This frees up everyone’s valuable time from administrative work and chasing updates.
Day 2: Draft your release notes and follow up on any missing or unclear items
Now to the main event: writing the product release notes! ClickUp’s Release Notes template allows document contributors to edit in real-time and @mention individual people or groups during writer’s block. ✍️
Must-haves for your release notes include:
- Document name, date, and version number: A version number is a string of numbers with decimal points indicating to both internal and external users what software version is current. If the far-left number of the decimal increases, it signals a major software update. The numbers to the right of the decimal signal small updates
- Feature names, descriptions, and updates: This is direct information to pull from tasks the teams completed
- Visual content: Screenshots, videos, and GIFs help customers follow and learn about software changes better
- Relevant links: Each section should be a short summary with links to in-depth help articles
An agile workflow in ClickUp removes the need to hunt for information. When you’re in the middle of writing release notes, you’ll constantly reference things from tasks. Which is why the Relationships in ClickUp feature will become your newest obsession.
Simply link your release notes document to release-related resources from your Workspace. Cross-referencing no longer becomes a chore but a productivity boost with ClickUp!
Day 3: Tag stakeholders for review and approval in the release notes document
After all outstanding items are cleared, formatting is complete, and the writing proofed, it’s time for the stakeholder’s review! 🔍
You can choose to assign a comment within the document to alert stakeholders or send them the direct URL if they’re not in your Workspace. This prevents sending multiple copies to different people.
Day 4: Finalize and approve release materials
Keeping everyone engaged in the hours leading to the release relies on transparent communication. Enter: Chat in ClickUp!
Chat replaces Slack threads and one-off emails to streamline the remaining questions and last-minute requests.
Day 5: Distribute release notes to all channels
When the release manager confirms the software updates are pushed to production, it’s time to publish the release notes! 🎉
After a well-deserved team celebration, it’s time to look forward to the next release. Go back to Day One and repeat the process with your customized templates again!
You’re taking care of your customers, but who’s taking care of you?
We’ve given you some things to think about, but you don’t have to work out this process alone! At times, we need a fresh perspective to show us better, safer, and cost-effective ways to do work.
Templates are just the beginning! Our team at ClickUp is ready to help you build scalable release systems. ⚙️