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Medium to large-size organizations that develop software products with a Scrum process typically have multiple Scrum Teams that must collaborate. The need for collaboration becomes more important as the number of cross-Team dependencies increases.
A key element in cross-Team collaboration is Release Planning, for which multiple Teams plan development for the next product release. Release planning identifies cross-Team dependencies and sequences work to ensure that the dependencies are satisfied and do not become blocking issues.
Release Planning is a challenging activity. It is harder than Sprint Planning because it involves more Teams and a longer time horizon. However, it can be done.
A common misconception about Release Planning is that it requires a very high degree of experience and discipline to do, and that it is an all-or-nothing proposition: Either everything desired is accomplished, or the plan has no value. In reality, this is not true. The benefits of Release Planning increase as proficiency grows, but even an inexperienced organization can produce useful Release Plans.
In this article, Kevin Thompson provides a detailed description of a real release planning experience, for a client just starting out with Scrum. The difficulties and benefits of the experience are common, and provide a realistic introduction to this sometimes-intimidating subject.
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