Today was the demo and retrospective for the last sprint of our current release. Normally I'd next have the team roll into release planning for the upcoming three months (we are on a quarterly schedule), but instead we skipped release planning entirely and went straight into our normal sprint planning.I think it will work well for our team, but as I'm normally a fan of release planning I have some trepidation.
Mike Cohn wrote recently, "A release plan helps a team avoid finishing a series of sprints and feeling that, while they always worked on the highest priority items, the collection of work completed does not add up to a satisfying whole." Even though I skipped this with our group, I strongly agree with the sentiment. My reasoning is simple: I think that a solid, prioritized roadmap and a commitment to releasing on a particular date (as opposed to including some minimum feature set) can largely eliminate the "lack of a satisfying whole" problem.
To be fair, we did have a talk about the next quarter: discussing in more detail the top items on the backlog, coming to an agreement that staying releasable and automated testing remain paramount, and prioritizing significant architecture work that needs to come earlier in the release cycle. We also got the PM to agree publicly once again that the roadmap was not a commitment and as we learned more priorities might change over time. The team seems excited about the results, and we had an energetic sprint planning session afterward.
I think this is going to work well for us, but it isn't a direction I've used with other teams. What do you think; will I regret this decision?