Generating release notes with Pivotal Tracker

When developing a product it is common to create release notes when there is an update of the product. Creating these release notes can be a time consuming process which is depending on the amount of user stories that are delivered. It is common that Agile Project Management solutions like Pivotal Tracker have an API that can be used to retrieve information. In this blog post I will explain how the API of Pivotal Tracker can be used to generate release notes in an Excel sheet.

What is Pivotal Tracker?

Retrieve informationprofile-menu-bar

To collect the information from the API of Pivotal Tracker a API token is needed. This token will be used for the authentication. Go to you profile and click create new token.

profile-token

Within the script the token needs to be specified including the project number which can be found in the main URL of you project.project-number

Pivotal structure

This script is created on a specific structure within Pivotal Tracker. The user stories between two release are retrieved for the release notes.main-demo-project

These release needs to specified in the script.

The release notes will be generated in an Excel sheet, therefor the location of the Excel sheet needs to be specified. Please note the script will expect an existing sheet.

Within a user story the label note can be used to mark it. If a user story is marked it will be set as a public release note. By adding the text “Release note:” the script will add this text to the Excels sheet. This way you can make more user friendly release notes which can be used publicly.

feature-with-note

By default the script will exclude chores because these are not relevant for release notes.

Creating the release notes

At first the release needs to be collect so we can define the range of user stories that needs to be collected.

The script expects the Excel sheet to exists and is going to retrieve the existing items.

If the information is correct and there are only two releases the next step is to retrieve the user stories and add them to the Excel sheet. This is the biggest part and the script will go through all the user stories and add them to the Excel sheet.

Finally a bar is defined as the end of the release and the Excel sheet is saved and closed.

Result

For this blog post I created a small example project which has a couple user stories. The script will add the following details to the Excel sheet.

  • Version = Specified in the script
  • Pivotal ID = Link toward the specific user story
  • Pivotal subject = The tile of the user story
  • Type = Feature or a bug
  • Component = Labels
  • Public = Public release note, Yes or No
  • Description = User friendly release note if specified

excel-release-notes

Conclusion

By using the API of Pivotal Tracker we are able to retrieve all the information so we can automatically generate the release notes. As a Product Owner there is one place to keep all the information including the release notes of specific user stories. I hope this gives you a head start by automating your own release notes. A full copy of the script can be found here. If you have questions or comments please leave them below.