I led a discussion at the Ottawa Agile and Scrum groups last week.I asked the group to come up with some reasons to do Release Planning. In essence, they represent the meta ‘purposes’ of release planning. Purposes that one’s approach to Release Planning should try to optimize.
The group came up with many good ideas, almost all of which I agreed with (if my opinion is useful).
Here are some they did not identify (at least according to my poor memory):
1. Team building. A set of work or exercises that allows the newly formed Scrum team to start to think of themselves as a team, do some Forming, Storming, Norming, and otherwise start to become a team.
2. Realize where they disagree. Often we think people agree what the work or product is all about. We have no means (or only a poor means) to identify where we disagree. If release planning could only identify (better) where we disagree, then we all could learn from that.
3. Start to get the whole team on the same page. For example, it might be useful for the whole team to have, at a working level, a solid consensus on the effort or product on multiple levels. Such as: the vision, a good-sized feature list, where the business value is highest, what will cost the most to build, etc.
To the degree one thinks these purposes of Release Planning are important, I think we might do Release Planning differently. I think #3 is very important.