To study the relative position of three planes $$\pi_1(A;\overrightarrow{u}, \overrightarrow{v}), \pi_2(A'; \overrightarrow{u'},\overrightarrow{v'})$$ and $$\pi_3(A''; \overrightarrow{u''}, \overrightarrow{v''})$$ expressed by their general equations:
$$$\begin{array}{rrcl} \pi_1:&A_1x+B_1y+C_1z+D_1&=&0 \\ \pi_2:& A_2x+B_2y+C_2z+D_2&=&0 \\ \pi_3:&A_3x+B_3y+C_3z+D_3&=&0\end{array}$$$
Let's consider the system formed by three equations. The matrix $$M$$ and $$M'$$ associated with the system are: $$$M=\begin{pmatrix} A_1 & B_1 & C_1 \\ A_2 & B_2 & C_2 \\ A_3 & B_3 & C_3 \end{pmatrix}$$$ $$$M'=\begin{pmatrix} A_1 & B_1 & C_1&D_1 \\ A_2 & B_2 & C_2 &D_2\\ A_3 & B_3 & C_3&D_3 \end{pmatrix}$$$
We can classify the relative position of the planes by the compatibility of the systems:

Compatible system

Indeterminate Compatible system

$$rank (M) = rank (M') = 1$$
The solutions depend on two parameters. Three planes are equal.

$$rank (M) = rank (M') = 2$$
The solutions depend on a parameter, therefore they have a straight line in common.
Now we must determine the position of the planes two by two. We have 2 options:
 Three planes are cutting in a straight line.
 Two planes are equal and cut the other plane.


Determinate compatible system

$$rank (M) = rank (M') = 3$$
The planes are cutting at a point.


Incompatible system

$$rank (M) = 1$$; $$rank (M') = 2$$
Incompatible system: parallel planes.
Next we must determine if they coincide or not.

$$rank (M) = 2$$; $$rank (M') = 3$$
Incompatible system: they are cutting planes.
Next, it is necessary to determine if there are also parallel planes.

