Get to Know the Release Schedule
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Define release terminology.
- Describe the Marketing Cloud release types.
At Salesforce, we don’t settle for good enough. We are always looking for ways to innovate and improve our products. We continuously ask: What can be enhanced? How can this be reimagined? Is there a way to make this more streamlined? Just like every homeowner has a home improvement list, every innovative tech team has a technology improvement list. And whether you’re renovating your home or developing software, you need a plan.
Lucky for you, we handle all of the careful planning behind the scenes, and you get to experience the results of our hard work in each Marketing Cloud release. These releases are designed to make sure our continuous improvements are successful and there is minimal impact to you—our customers. And when you know more about Marketing Cloud releases (such as the terminology, schedule, and lifecycle), you can better prepare to take advantage of these exciting innovations. Let’s get started.
The ABCs of Marketing Cloud Releases
As a Marketing Cloud user, it’s important to know when to expect releases, how we communicate about them, and how they can affect your account and day-to-day job. Let’s review Marketing Cloud release terminology so we can start with a common language.
- Agile development: A project methodology used to manage software development work. Agile methodology focuses on completing small, short-term tasks versus a waterfall approach that focuses on a large-scale project.
- Bug: An identified error or flaw found in our product that is being tracked for status and completion.
- Downtime: The amount of time a product is unavailable.
- Emergency release: A product update that occurs when an update needs to be made immediately to fix a bug that is impacting security or performance.
- Feature: A change made to Marketing Cloud that adds new functionality or improves current functionality.
- Freeze: A cut-off date for changes. Feature freeze relates to what will be added to a release and a release freeze refers to the date no additional changes can be made to an upcoming release.
- Functional test: A Quality Assurance (QA) test that evaluates a group of functional requirements.
- GA: Denotes a product feature that is generally available (GA) to all customers.
- Integration test: A QA test that tests if different parts of the system work together after updates.
- Known issues: Issues discovered and logged by members of the Trailblazer Community. These issues are monitored and tracked by Salesforce product teams as bugs.
- Lifecycle: The cadence of product improvements and fixes.
- Patch release: A weekly release that focuses on fixing bugs and known issues.
- Pilot features: A feature offered to a limited number of customers who have signed up to test that feature.
- Sprint: A short time period (often 2 weeks) when product teams work on a specific list of tasks.
- Stack: The database group that your Marketing Cloud account is part of. Your stack and specific database (called an instance) impacts your account’s release date.
- Unit test: A QA test to ensure an individual update meets requirements and follows expected behavior.
Marketing Cloud Release Schedule
Now that you have an idea of how we talk about releases, let’s review the release schedule. Marketing Cloud follows a unique schedule releasing five times a year, while most of Salesforce follows a release cycle of three times a year. In addition to those five major releases, Marketing Cloud also conducts weekly patch releases, as well as emergency releases. Here’s what you need to know about each type of release.
Five times per year
||Weekly (On Wednesdays in the US)
Release Schedule Exceptions
There are some exceptions to this schedule. A few Marketing Cloud products follow different release timelines.
- Audience Studio: Separate release procedures, but can align with the Marketing Cloud release cycle. If you have Audience Studio, you will receive a communication when any new features are deployed in your account.
- Customer 360 Audiences: Follows Salesforce releases with three releases per year.
- Datorama: Separate release procedures, but can align with the Marketing Cloud release cycle. If you have Datorama, you receive a communication when any new features are deployed in your account.
- Pardot: Follows Salesforce releases with three releases per year.
- Social Studio: Separate release procedures, but follows Marketing Cloud release cycles to align releases with R1 or R2.
In the next unit, we take a closer look at the release lifecycle.