Updated: Jun 19
Agile teams are the basic building block of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Agile teams are high-performing, cross-functional teams that apply and practice Agile principles effectively. This team works in iteration, and each iteration is typically 2 weeks long. Each Agile Team is a group of 5 to 11 people and has two specialized roles: Scrum Master and Product Owner.
Scrum Master acts as a coach for the team, also facilitates team events, and removes impediments to the team’s progress. Now, let’s talk a little bit about the product owner. The product owner acts as a customer for the team questions. He is the one who owns and prioritizes the team backlog.
In SAFe, the team of 5–12 agile teams is known as Agile release train or ART. In other words, it is a virtual organization of 5–12 Agile teams or 50 to 125 individuals that plan, commit, develop, and deploy together.
ARTs are Organized Around Value. What does it mean? It means as Agile teams are cross-functional, we want ARTs to be cross-functional as well. Each ART cuts across organizational and political boundaries to facilitate the flow of value from concept to cash. It defines, builds, validates, and releases the values to the customer in the shortest sustainable time.
An ART delivers a continuous flow of value from one PI to another PI. Each PI or program increment is usually 5 iterations or 10 weeks long as suggested by SAFe. The ART plans its work during a face-to-face cadence-based event called the PI Planning event. Agile teams execute this plan during iterations. Interestingly, teams don’t plan any development or testing work for the last iteration which we call IP iteration or innovation and planning iteration.
IP Iteration is the last iteration and provides a buffer for meeting PI Objectives as well as dedicated time for PI planning, innovation, continuing education, and Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events. Three parts of the I&A event are -
The PI System Demo
Qualitative & Quantitative Measurement
Problem Solving Workshop
ART demonstrates and evaluates the current state of the solution and then identifies improvement backlog items via a structured, problem-solving workshop. After this event ART again plans the work for the next PI during PI planning events.
That’s how this ART does continuous exploration, continuous integration, and continuous deployment with the help of some more individuals. Like each Agile team has two specialized roles: Product owner and scrum master. For the successful execution of the Agile release train, there are some roles in the Scaled agile framework on a program level. These roles are Release Train Engineer (RTE), Product Management, System Architect/Engineering team, Business Owners, and System Teams.
RTE acts as a chief scrum master for the train
Product management owns, defines, and prioritizes the program backlog
System Architect/Engineering is an individual or team that defines the overall architecture of the system.
Business Owners are key stakeholders of the Agile release train
System Teams provide processes and tools to integrate and evaluate assets early and often.
We hope this article helped you know about the concept of ART and how team events work.
You can also read the article by author Shaily Rajwanshi (SAFe Program Consultant (SPC 5.0), Business Agility Coach/Trainer, Certified Kanban Management Professional) on