A changelog is a chronologically ordered list of all notable changes for each release or version.
Having a structured and consistent changelog makes it simpler for users and contributors to understand exactly what changes have been made between releases.
It doesn’t matter whether they are customers, product managers, or developers; the end-users of software are human beings who care about what they see in the software. Why and how software changes are what they care about.
However, writing a useful changelog is tricky. When and how you communicate even the slightest product change to users requires careful consideration in your changelog. A lack of structure can lead to confusion and frustration among users, and you might miss the chance to delight them.
Three tips to keep a useful changelog:
- Show the value to your customers: Highlight what your customers gain from the update. To make your release notes easier to consume, keep them compact and to the point. Provide links to information sources if the change is sufficiently complex.
- Be structured and consistent: Your release notes should be structured and contain the information needed. You can use a changelog template to ensure this is the case. The template doesn’t have to be extensive. Keeping in mind to answer specific questions like what has changed, why it has changed, and how your users impacted will help you stay consistent and provide value.
- Avoid jargon: Changelogs are for humans, not machines. Use plain language and avoid technical jargon whenever possible. Ensure that your messages are clear and easy to understand. Complex and wordy changelog may cause confusion and frustrate your users.
Release notes are an important part of any product development cycle, and even if you are just starting out with them, you’re well ahead of many software companies.
To ensure success, you need a strategy for product update communication that puts your customers first. Despite the time and effort they require, product updates should not be ignored. Customers will appreciate you putting them first if you make release notes a regular part of your product development process. This is exactly what we enjoy doing at Producter by communicating product updates consistently on our user portal.
Producter is a product management tool designed to become customer-driven.
It helps you collect feedback, manage tasks, sharing product updates, creating product docs, and tracking roadmap.