I just finished a rather intensive project for a local furniture company doing the renderings for their brochures.
The requirement of this project was to manage many parts furniture configurations and material types all composed and mixed into individual shots.
I am actually quite astonished to see how well Blender performed considering all the discussion about the UI issues.
I build a basic blend file where in scene 1 I positioned all available elements including materials.
For each shot I created a new scene inside the same blend file and was blown away that for each scene you also have individual render settings. This made this attempt to spread out the shots via scenes a blessing because I could have in each scene the object organized differently on the layers and also have different render settings per scene.
Of course during the time of the project design revisions occurred which often then affected multiple objects in multiple shots.
The ability to import a new model and link the mesh data to an existing object was a great helper to instantly update all linked/cloned objects in all scenes. What a time saver that was and great tool to make sure nothing gets overlooked!
The third great aspect of the scene approach is that you still keep your file size low because you work with the same mesh data in each scene while dealing with individual objects.
I also have a background in graphic design and know the hassle of asset management there and it was a pleasure to work with the graphic designer via Skype and develop with him through Cycles quickly the individual shots.
So instead of having to deal with many different blend files I just had one file with all shots spread out into scenes easy to manage easy to update and easy to change.
It was really a blessing and great example to test the new render engine.
Online render farms also helped drastically to shorten the amount of needed render time.
Just wanted to say thank you to the developers!